MINNEAPOLIS - If rain is good for anything, it's good for mushrooms.
"Actually the past several years, because they've been particularly rainy, have been really, really good for fungus and mushrooms in particular," says John Lamprecht, President of the Minnesota Mycological Society.
They're growing everywhere you look...on trees, stumps and likely the middle of your lawn! If you know what to look for, you may just have dinner growing wild in your backyard. Search for the foolproof four: a group of four mushrooms easy to identify and considered safe to eat.
Boyd Huppert's Giant Puffball mushroom is in the foolproof four and it's tasty.
Lamprecht describes that, "It takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it in, so its good for like eggplant parmesan. So if you open it up and it's perfectly white then it's perfectly edible."
Next up, a photo courtesy of viewer Barb Bonde, the Chicken of the Woods...another in the foolproof four.
"Bright bright yellow on the bottom and bright bright orange or red and they grow in overlapping sheets in the woods up and down trees. They have a texture very similar to chicken breast," explains Lamprecht.
That brings us to number three.
"This is the prize for this time of year in my estimation. This is called the hen of the woods. The entire thing is edible and it grows on the base of oak trees," he says.
Morels round out the foolproof four. You can find those in spring.
If you do want to try some wild mushrooms. get some help.
"There's no short cuts. You really need to know what you're doing.You never take a chance on something that could really really harm you. There are several deadly mushrooms in Minnesota," Lamprecht warns.
Just one example of one you want to stay away from, the jack-o-lantern mushroom. It'll make you sick.
Before you eat, it's a good idea to give John Lamprecht and his friends at the Minnesota Mycological Society a call or email to confirm what you have is safe.