Outdoor Cooking from A to Z

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I ate a wild mushroom. This action is a lot more risky than it sounds. While vacationing in the Black Hills, I bought a copy of “Mushrooms and Other Fungi of the Black Hills and Surrounding Area” by Audrey Gabel and Elaine Ebbert. Because of the recent rains in the Black Hills, the pine forests are fairly blooming with mushrooms.

I picked fifteen different varieties in less than an hour and showed them to the Boy Scouts and other campers, explaining to them why they were poisonous. For example, my Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) specimen was a handsome mushroom which is both hallucinogenic and poisonous. It contains muscimal and ibotenic acid, which affects the central nervous system and causes delirium. Flies fed extracts from this mushroom became disorientated and died. The Destroying Angel (Aminita bisporigera) is deadly poisonous and contains amanitin, a powerful toxin which destroys the liver and kidneys, and results in death.

I found and correctly identified a Peeling Puffball which is listed as edible when young and firm. I was 100% positive that I could eat this one and sautéed it in coconut oil. The recommendation is that if you do not know if a mushroom is poisonous, and you do not have access to a professional such as me, that you should only eat a small part of it. If you suffer intestinal cramping, diarrhea, and delirium, you should not eat the rest of it.

Now what does this have to do with our Outdoor Cooking from A to Z event you might ask? In addition to our cooking demonstration with Dutch ovens and pie irons, we will also be looking at edible and poisonous wild plants in our area. I have a delicious recipe from David Graper, SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist, for purslane which is growing wild in your garden or the cracks of your sidewalk.. Purslane is also quite nutritious, high in omega-3 fatty acids and several vitamins.

Please come to Oahe Downstream Recreation Area on Saturday, July 11. We will meet at Shelter #1 at 11:00 a.m. for our annual Outdoor Cooking from A to Z event. Bring your Dutch oven, pie irons and a good appetite. If you have good recipes, please share them. You will need a one-day pass or a $30 annual sticker to enter the park. For more information, call (605) 223-7722.