One of the great joys of the Rocky Mountains is to head out into the forest and come back with a good hearty meal. Wild mushrooms are a delicious treat and a lot of fun to go hunt. I found these chanterelles a few days ago north of town near hwy 550. I can’t tell you exactly where I go but I can tell you that they like north facing slopes near open areas, often in pine trees and near a water source.
There are thousands of varieties of mushrooms in San Juan County so make sure you know exactly what you’re doing. I like chanterelles because they’re rather distinct and very tasty. I cook them down with some garlic and onion, then add in some white wine and heavy cream for an amazing soup. Perfect for a rainy august afternoon in Silverton and would probably have to cost $30 a cup in any restaurant.
Another common mushroom is the Boletes but there are two very similar versions, the King and the Aspen. Kings are much better for eating and are better known by the italian name Porcini. This is a really nice meaty mushroom with a distinctive underside which helps to classify them. Kings have very thick bases where the aspen is much thinner.
Again, make sure you are 100% positive in your identification before consuming anything. Some mushrooms are very dangerous and can lead to some very bad places including and up to death. If your in any doubt just leave it behind as even handling some mushrooms can transfer spores to your eyes or mouth, causing exposure to some bad side effects.
But, if you know what you’re doing, wild mushroom hunting in San Juan County is extremely rewarding. Not only is it a great way to have a relaxing afternoon hiking through the forest as you scan every inch of ground for a patch goodies, but you get to cook them up later with a steak or whatever floats your boat. Some of the mushrooms pictured above even made their way onto a rock climber pizza from the Golden Block… seriously good!
UPDATED: We went out again and scored some more!
Chanterelles Video to give you an idea of what they look like. Do not rely on any information from this site to try and identify wild mushrooms for human consumption. This page is only intended to let you know that they’re out there.