Hen of the Woods, Chicken of the Woods: what’s the difference? With more than 5,000 species of mushrooms found in our region alone, identifying various species can be challenging. The most commonly asked questions: "What is this?" and "Can I eat it?" Led by mycology enthusiast Kathy Yerich, this course covers that fertile ground by allowing you to first learn about, then forage for, and finally savor the mushrooms of Minnesota.
The first session will meet in the classroom for an illustrated lecture that defines what mushrooms are, surveys the species to be found in the region, and details the specific characteristics to look for when identifying species.
Because spending time in the field is the best way to advance your knowledge, the second session will allow you to put what you’ve learned into practice while foraging at William O’Brien State Park. Mushroom identification is a tactile and sensory experience, so we’ll spend time observing, touching, and even smelling specimens, all of which can help to distinguish between species.
And finally, the taste test! We’ll meet at the Campus Club where chef Beth Jones will prepare a delicious variety of small plates that feature locally sourced wild and cultivated mushrooms, including but not limited to oyster, shiitake, hen of the woods, and lion’s mane, a beautiful cultivated and wild variety that has the taste and texture of crab meat. In addition to offering tips about how to use mushrooms in your own kitchen, the evening will include a discussion with a gourmet mushroom cultivator, and other fun(gi) surprises.
Tuition includes food.
Required: Kathy Yerich and Teresa Marrone, Mushrooms of the Upper Midwest: A Simple Guide to Common Mushrooms (Adventure Publications, 2014).
Kathy Yerich, BFA, University of Minnesota, is vice president of both the Minnesota Mycological Society and the North American Mycological Association. She has been foraging for 15 years.
Beth Jones, executive chef, Campus Club, University of Minnesota, honed her cooking skills and became a proponent of the local foods movement while at Lucia’s in Minneapolis. She has been with the Campus Club for nine years.