Late-season monsoon spurs continued growth of local fungi
SUMMIT COUNTY — I wasn’t really expecting to find much in the way of mushrooms when I took the dogs for a stroll in the upper Snake River Basin Wednesday evening. Rainfall has been somewhat spotty the past few weeks, and with the great profusion of fungi earlier this summer, I assumed that the mushroom season is winding down. In a pleasant surprise, I found several clusters of large chanterelles, one of the tastiest and most desirable wild mushrooms that grows in our area. The best way to describe the flavor is as peppery sweet, with a hint of apricot. They’re great with scrambled eggs, on pizza, pasta or even added to muffins.
As a bonus, chanterelles are almost unmistakeable — there are very few other mushrooms that look anything like it, and definitely no poisonous look-a-likes. So at the risk of alienating the non-mushroom-loving Summit Voice readers, I’m posting one more photo essay on Colorado’s fabulous fungi. They are, after all, a mysterious and critical part of our forest ecosystems.
Most of Colorado’s trees grow in a symbiotic relationship with fungi species that bond on a cellular level with the roots of those trees. That pairing helps both organisms maximize nutrient uptake and in some cases protects the trees from pathogens. It’s not an exaggeration to say that most of our trees wouldn’t grow nearly as well with their fungal partners. In some cases, they might not grow at all.
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