Illinois Youngster Discovers Mushroom That Looks Straight Out of a Sci-Fi Movie
I guess I need to get out into Mother Nature a little more often (or at all) because I'm missing out on the opportunity to find some really neat and strange stuff. For the time being, I guess I'll have to rely on other people finding cool stuff and sharing pictures online. In this case, I want to shout out Josiah and Meghan Evans, who shared these pictures of their son holding a massive mushroom.
What In The World Is It?
If you ask me, it looks like something that is from OUT of this world. You have to agree that it kind of looks like some kind of creature you might see in one of the Alien movies - something that attaches to your face and does all kinds of horrible things. It is nothing quite that nefarious though, it's just a big ol' mushroom. The scientific name is Cerioporus squamous, but it is more commonly known as Dryad's Saddle or Pheasant Back mushrooms, and according to inaturalist.org, we are smack dab in the middle of their peak season. There is no shortage of them and they are fairly easy to spot, especially ones this big.
Are They Edible?
It's the question everyone seems to ask about every mushroom encountered in the wild - can I eat it? When it comes to Pheasant Backs, the answer is yes. According to themeateater.com, "Not only are these mushrooms edible, they can be downright delicious. When harvested and prepared correctly, pheasant backs provide meaty, substantial morsels that add texture and subtle flavor to any dish."
What's That Smell?
Most mushrooms have a rather 'Earthy' smell, but not Pheasant Backs, in fact, they often smell like another yummy food. Apparently, when you cut into a Pheasant Back, it smells like sliced cucumber or watermelon rind.
So next time you're foraging for mushrooms, or just taking a stroll through the woods, keep an eye out for some Pheasant Backs. They are often overlooked in favor of morels or other more popular shrooms, but these shouldn't be forgotten.