Social Distancing? Why Mushroom Hunting Might be the Perfect COVID-19 Activity

Why Mushroom Hunting Might be the Perfect COVID-19 Activity?

These are tough times that we are going through at the moment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to obey the orders and respect social distancing. A real bummer, especially if you are someone who likes to be active. But the truth is that we can still stay active, and mushroom hunting might be the perfect activity for that.

Inevitably, we are going to run into problems during this pandemic. Our mental health might suffer; and as we become less active, our physical health will take a massive hit. But what if there was a way to ease these problems?

Mushroom hunting might scratch your itch to be on the move. And it’s especially great during the times of social distancing. You’ll be all alone in the forest (if you choose to go alone), and you’ll be unlikely to meet someone else.

If you’re growing antsy and want to catch some fresh air, begin a  quest to find the perfect mushroom.

What is Social Distancing?

Social distancing is a measure that the US government took to help stop or control the spread of COVID-19. It’s a measure that prevents mass gatherings, events with more than 10 attendees. We are told to avoid places where there are lots of people. As the corona-virus can spread very easily, it’s probably for the best at the moment.

Does this mean that you’re confined to the walls of your home for indefinitely? Not necessarily, as long as you don’t go to places where there are lots of people. Another recommendation of social distancing is to stay at least a couple of feet away from other people.

In some cases, there is no other choice but to go to public places. Whether it’s grocery shopping, work, or other activities that are necessary for survival, social distancing is designed to help prevent the spread of the virus outside of households.

The Problem with Social Distancing

Many people will find it rather frustrating to not be able to go outside. Staying inside is a challenge for many, especially when the weather is sunny. But as long as we don’t go to places where we can potentially meet other people, we should be fine. And going to the forest is one of those places where you’re very unlikely to meet someone else, let alone come close to them.

Depression might start to creep in, as might other mental issues. As a result, our physical health will deteriorate as we are not able to go outside and exercise, for example.

But the truth is that we can do something for ourselves at this time. And mushroom foraging might just be the perfect activity at this time of social distancing. We’ll reap many benefits with one swing of the bat. We’ll get good exercise, freshen up our minds and catch some fresh air, and we’ll collect some tasty and exciting mushrooms.

For those who have never done this, you might be wondering what mushroom foraging is. Let’s talk about it in more detail.

What is Mushroom Foraging?

Mushroom foraging, or mushroom hunting, is an exceptionally exciting activity. You’ll have to use both your mind and your body to find and collect the tasty and sometimes, bizarre-looking mushrooms. Mushroom foraging is scavenging through the forest for mushrooms. It entails looking for the best, most beautiful, and tastiest mushrooms we can find.

But this activity can be surprisingly challenging. While it is a massive pleasure to find that mushroom you’ve been looking for some time, you’ll have to be sharp to spot it. Then again, it’s all about how you take the activity. Perhaps you are mushroom hunting to get some exercise or just a good stroll in the woods. In that case, the forest offers almost endless opportunities.

But if you’re more determined to find that mushroom you desperately want to find and try, then it can also be some sort of a challenge. Something to keep your mind busy and away from the worries of these tough times.

Who knows, you might stumble upon a mushroom that’s incredibly tasty, such as the Shiitake or the Chicken of the forest. Or, you might luck out and find some magic mushrooms (Psilocybe Cubensis) if you’re after that.

The Calming Effects of Nature

You’ll scavenge the forest, where it will be just you and nature (and someone that’s with you, perhaps). You won’t have to worry about social distancing at all. And, you’ll be feeling the relaxing effects that the forest can have on you for days to come. Who knows, you might find this feeling addictive and continue your search for the coming days.

And the social distancing orders are unlikely to go away that quickly, at least not for a few weeks or so. So why not take advantage of the mental and physical benefits of mushroom hunting now? In many ways, it’s the perfect activity during COVID-19, and here are some reasons why.

Why This is a Good Activity During the COVID-19 Epidemic

The morel mushroom season is just starting out, so it’s the perfect time to hop onto the train.  You’ll struggle to find a better time to start an activity like mushroom foraging than right now, during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Take it as a relaxing activity to freshen up your mind and body, and to get a good exercise in. Who knows, you might just get sucked into it, just like many other people did when they started out.

During COVID-19, we have to respect social distancing. This means that many people are at home at the moment, not working. Or, they work from home. In either case, many people will have too much time on their hands, and won’t know what to do with it.

Instead of wasting your days on your couch, watching movies, or series, you can go out on a quest; a quest to find the perfect mushroom. You will reap the benefits later on when you can cook it for dinner. There are many tasty mushrooms to be found out there.

It Requires Little to No Investment

It’s free! Almost completely free, you just need to be equipped with some knowledge about mushrooms. And of course, the willingness to find them. You might want to want to read a good book about mushrooms to learn about which ones are safe to collect. Or, you can read a blog about mushrooms – like ours!

At the same time, you’ll reap many benefits to go with it. You won’t meet anyone in the forest, saving you from the dangers of the corona-virus. Here are some of the best benefits of mushroom hunting.

The Benefits of Mushroom Foraging

There are many fantastic benefits that this simple activity has to offer.

Mental Benefits

First of all, we have to think about our mental health at this tough time. Being stuck inside an apartment or house for 24 hours is not ideal. Some people might start to lose their minds, especially if they were used to an active lifestyle beforehand. Depression might happen, especially for people who are prone to depression. Many mental health experts are warning people to take care of their mental well-being.

Foragers will tell you just how satisfying this activity can be. You’ll catch some fresh air, go outside and explore nature, and have a new experience in your life that you never might have tried before. It’s incredibly satisfying when you find your first mushroom; it makes you want to keep going, as you want to get even more.

Physical Benefits

Finding a mushroom might be more challenging than you might think! At least, speaking from the perspective of physical effort. Make no mistake: mushroom foraging is quite an intense physical exercise. And it can be even more intense if the terrain dictates more challenging patterns of movement.

Not all mushrooms are located in flat areas and forests. Some might require you to climb uphill, dive deep into valleys, explore the meadows, go through forests, and perhaps even in the mountains. So mushroom hunting might entail long walks, maybe even up to a few miles just to find one mushroom!

Good for Kids and Elderly

Mushroom hunting is not only beneficial for you, but also for your family. Everyone might suffer as a result of the pandemic. While kids might get satisfied by playing video games now, it’s not the best activity to have. Especially if it’s sunny outside. Collecting mushrooms provides good exercise and recreation for the kids, but also for the elderly.

It’s an adjustable activity, so the elderly can choose how much walking they do. Even if it’s a short stroll in nature, it’s still far better than being stuck inside. It keeps their mind occupied at these tough times.

Foraging can be Profitable

Looking to make mushroom foraging profitable? It is possible, but it takes years of experience and some mushroom-finding skills. Almost every restaurant will need a supply of mushrooms. This gives foragers the perfect opportunity to sell their findings.

Matsutake mushrooms or morel mushrooms can be especially profitable. They can be sold for $50 to even $120 per lb. But then again, it takes effort and years of knowledge.

Explore New Culinary Experiences

Mushrooms offer almost endless opportunities for new culinary experiences. Almost every mushroom will taste different. You can enjoy the taste of morel mushrooms, which is more nutty and earthy, while the lion’s mane tastes like crab. You only need to know which mushrooms to collect, and which ones are good to eat.

It’s Satisfying

Finding that mushroom after a long search can be incredibly rewarding. You’ll feel a sense of pride and satisfaction, and it will keep you going for longer. That’s just another mental benefit that you can enjoy with mushroom foraging.

What are the Risks?

In essence, there are no risks associated with mushroom collecting. But there can be risks if you intend to consume the mushrooms you collect.

Namely, there’s a risk, especially for beginners. As they don’t know the specific mushroom types, they might collect them without knowing they’re toxic. Many mushrooms look alike and are often confused for other mushrooms. Some might look like an edible mushroom, and you collect it. Later on, you eat it or prepare it in a meal, and you can easily poison yourself.

Some level of awareness needs to be present, even if it’s a relaxing activity. It’s crucial to identify the mushroom before you collect it, and that takes experience and knowledge.

Collecting Mushrooms Safely

Many mushroom types look similar, but there are subtle differences that require closer inspection. At first glance, they might look similar, but the small details reveal the real nature of the mushroom. Closely observe the following details to make sure about the type of the mushroom:

  • Cap shape. It can be convex, flat, bell-shaped, or another type of shape.
  • Spore prints.
  • Gill attachment.
  • The colors.

Before you go out and enjoy, you should do proper research. You might want to read a book or even take it with you. Today, smartphones offer a good chance for a quick online search, but you might be out of signal in some spots. So taking a book with you might make sense.

When you come home with the collected mushrooms, inspect them closely again. That can be easier said than done, especially if the quantities are higher. But you can compare the mushrooms next to some photos of the ones that are safe to make sure.

In some cases, it’s better to consult an expert in mycology to help you out. There are many mycology clubs all over the country, and there is almost sure to be a mushroom enthusiast somewhere in your area.

At the moment, COVID-19 prevents us from connecting to people, though. So searching online or browsing books might be your best bet. In any case, take precautions before you consume them.

Wrapping Up

Mushroom foraging can be a pleasing activity, even during COVID-19. In fact, it might just be the perfect activity for a time like this.