Do mushrooms come to mind when you think of Lizard Head Pass? Well, they do for the director of the Telluride Mushroom Festival, John Sir Jesse.
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Picking Mushrooms at the Telluride Mushroom Festival Ashley Boiling: Besides working for the Telluride Institute, I’m also a bus driver at the Greasy Goose. We’re going to drive up to -- and then a local mushroom specialist and herb rocker John Sir Jesse is going to guide us on a fore to see if we can find some mushrooms. John Sir Jesse: I like to make the analogy, pulling a mushroom out of the ground is like picking an apple by breaking off the branch that it’s growing on. It doesn’t kill the tree but it doesn’t help it. So, it’s really best to cut the mushroom off right at ground level not only does protect the underground mycelium but it also makes the mushroom cleaner. That’s the main body of the mushroom is the mycelium. Hope you all have some sort of mushroom knife, this is one of the best. I like these new bags. All the markets are starting to carry. So, here’s a fun little mushroom, most people don’t believe this is a mushroom. Don’t forget what mushroom really is. Mushroom is a fruiting body of an underground fungi. Fungi don’t all produce mushrooms. It’s actually edible and when you cook it up, crispy, fried in a little butter, lightly salty, taste like bacon. We’ve got our first boletus here hiding by this rock. One of the things you’ll notice about boletus is the color variations. It’s not always a perfect brick red. You can do that. It's a nice firm boletus. This is small and when they get much bigger than that. One of the things you notice about boletus, the whole family has tubes here on the bottom instead of gills and the tubes are where the spores are made just they're made on the gills on a regular mushroom. Many times the top of the mushroom is not as brightly colored just bottom. Look at this one here and if dated out, just turn it over, it should smell like apricots. Ashley Boiling: This smells really good. Yes, I was surprised. John Sir Jesse: It has the color and smell of apricot and if you taste the raw chanterelle, it tastes peppery. Ashley Boiling: Kind a little bit of chanterelle. John Sir Jesse: And they’re not true gills on a chanterelle. A true gill looks like a sheet of paper on edge. The most deadly mushrooms in the world are the destroying angel, the death cap. They’re both amanitas. They kill you by destroying your liver. You know the things you need to remember on this to know you’ve got a hot wing is the scales have to be dark brown on the cap. It has to have the tooth on the bottom. It needs to be cooked well. So cook and slice and thin, fry them up in butter, olive oil, look at this big one down here. These are shrimp russulas. You notice how bright red the caps are, you’ve got yellow, you’ve got some greenish hues in there. You got red and pink and tan. Warning, mushroom picking can become addictive and one of the hardest things about picking mushrooms is stopping.