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In reply to the discussion: Know Your Mushrooms [View all]


(8,958 posts)
8. My contribution to Thanksgiving this year will be Tanoak (Matusake) Mushroom soup.
Fri Nov 16, 2012, 04:48 PM
Nov 2012

Recipe (very rich)

Fresh Tanoak Mushrooms (don't wash)!! - scrape and brush to clean then slice


Shallots and garlic.

1/2 and 1/2 milk and sherry wine (I use Christian Brothers) in about a 2:1 ratio

I don't really measure but say quart milk, handfull of chopped shallots and garlic (3/4 shallots), and 4-8 mushrooms depending on size. One can make a smaller batch for 1-4 people.

Melt butter

Add tanoaks, shallots and garlic

Cook just several minutes until soft

Add milk and sherry and bring to a rapid boil. Take off heat, you are done.

Sometimes sprinkle a dash of cayanne pepper and or dried cilantro on the soup once in bowl for color.

Here is a link to a page with pictures and also links to many common forest mushrooms. This nice webpage is from New England and Eastern Canada but about 2/3s the mushrooms listed to the left are local for me. I live on a National Forest inholding about 20 miles inland from Redwood National Park in extreme northcoast California.


Here is a Matusake slideshow from the New Yorker (one needs to subscribe to read the article now)


I grew up in the 50s and 60s here where tanoak mushrooms were part of the round of life in my family. We would gather them each year and my Mom and grandmother would dry, can, and pickle tanoaks.

Back in the 70s while an undergrad at Cal I cracked up because I saw them for sale in Berkeley's Monterey Market for $30/lb.

Since the late 80s there have been commercial buyers and pickers that buy by grade. The unopened buttons (#1 grade) are sometimes purchased wholesale for $50-$100/lb. They mostly go to Japan.

98% plus of the nearby land is National Forest and one needs to get a personal use or commercial use permit. The last several years a one day personal use permit from the Forest Service costs $35 and one must deface the mushroom so it cannot be sold commercially. I can find them in my "yard" so the heck with that. A commercial permit is much more.

Personally, I would never pick for sale on principal but the tanoaks give the woods cops something to do.

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