Mushroom Foraging Bonanza in East Hampton

Remember all you localest of locavores: Do not forage for mushrooms without experience. A good source is Cornell Cooperative Extension, with offices in Riverhead. They’d much rather you contact them than die from eating a poisonous fungus. That out of the way, one of the most common of edible mushrooms on the East End is chicken of the woods. A beautiful specimen–a bright yellow and orange cluster–was found by Leigh Merinoff, the sister of EEE’s photo editor Lindsay Morris in the Northwest Woods section of East Hampton.  Says Lindsay, “We sliced several pounds of ear-like mushroom flesh poolside in the August sun, and spread the strips on a dozen dehydrating trays. By morning, there on the table stood half a dozen gleaming Ball jars with dried versions of the same. We will soak the pieces and drop them into soups, salads and pastas for months to come.”