Preeceville residents prepared to search for wild mushrooms

Ken Lozinsky of Regina made a special presentation in Preeceville on morel mushrooms and other edible mushrooms found in the Preeceville area. The Kelsey Ecological Society sponsored the evening which was held at the Preeceville Club 60 on May 18.

With the aid of a slide presentation, Lozinsky showed photographs and spoke about a dozen edible wild mushrooms which can be found in the Preeceville area.

Mushrooms featured included: morels, boletes or red tops, meadow, oyster, puff balls, shaggy mane, honey (pidpanky), chanterelles, fairy ring, chicken, hen of the woods and milk-caps (kobelsky varge).

The presentation focused on where and when to find the various mushrooms and how to clean and process them as well as tips on how to cook them.

He also showed photographs of five poisonous mushrooms found in the local area which should be avoided. The five mushrooms he featured were: destroying angel, deadly fly agaric, dog stinkhorn, deadly gallerina and sickener.

At the conclusion of the presentation Lozinsky offered tips on mushroom hunting.

"Buy a good mushroom book which has coloured photographs of mushrooms, not sketches of the mushrooms,” he said. “One such pocket-sized book is called Familiar Mushrooms of North America. The old adage that says if bugs and animals are on or eating the mushroom, then it must be edible, is simply not true.

Animals have a different digestive system and can process even the most poisonous mushroom.

"For the first time of picking any variety of wild mushrooms, go with somebody who knows which varieties are edible. It is always a good idea to clean, cut up and blanche wild mushrooms in boiling water for three to five minutes before cooking them. Many mushroom books warn against eating raw wild mushrooms, including morels, as they can cause sickness with some people. Dehydrating or freezing wild mushrooms is a good way of preserving them," he said.

The evening concluded with the audience being treated to a sample of cooked pidpanky mushrooms prepared by Lozinsky and his wife Melody.

Lozinsky was born and raised at Lady Lake, went to school at Sunny Brae and high school in Sturgis. His father was an elevator agent in Lady Lake and his mother was a homemaker. Lozinsky attended the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon in 1968-1972, moved to Regina, and married his Melody in 1975.

They raised a family and have been picking and hunting mushrooms for over 60 years.

"Special mushroom spots are like special fishing holes; you don't share the secret," said Lozinsky.

The couple retired to McBride Lake in 1988 and built their own retirement cottage in 2010. Their new home is a good central location to hunt for mushrooms, he said.

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