Wild Mushroom Dye

*Note, I took a mushroom dye class!

Carson and I went backpacking last weekend, opting to hike during the dark and rain. What an idea. The rain chased us up the trail, we set up camp quickly, and huddled into the tent to avoid getting any more soaked than we already were. At 3 am I woke up and looked outside to see that our tent was completely surrounded by a lake of water 1-2inches deep in which we were the island... kind of. We hustled outta there and straight picked up the tent, moving it about 6 feet over to avoid tragedy. The seams held and we stayed dry. *Phew!
During the hike I noticed many types of different fungus along the trail where we hiked. We are having a wet fall in the Pacific Northwest that is bound to produce a good crop of mushrooms. It inspired me to do some mushroom hunting + cooking + dying maybe. I ordered a mushroom reference book (All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms) from Amazon and hope to go searching a few days in early October, and again on like the 16th so I can have my specimens cross-checked by the Pros in Seattle to see if I am awesome.
The Puget Sound Mycological Society has great resources such as a pretty poster from 2009, wild mushroom recipes, the washington state harvest rules, and even a link to the annual Fungi & Fibre Symposium in Sweden! Can you believe it? A conference to discuss wild mushrooms and there use in knitting and spinning! 
Now I just need a few more things to make it all happen. The Rainbow Beneath My Feet: A Mushroom Dyer's Field Guide and Mushrooms for Color would be two awesome books to have on the subject of mushroom dye, and I'd really like to invest in a quality food dehydrator such as the Excalibur 3900 Deluxe Series 9 Tray Food Dehydrator - Black to preserve the mushrooms that I'd like to use later either for food or dye. The food dehydrator could go a long ways in preserving-- in some ways it's more efficient than canning or freezing and the limited space in my apartment loves that shriveled/dry foods store easily. I also need a few more pots for the dye process such as the Imusa Stainless Steel Stock Pot, 16 Quart and/or the Imusa Enamel Stock Pot, 12 Quart, Turquoise.
PS. I know you all are thinking that I'm about to kill myself by eating some poisonous mushroom that I identified incorrectly. For clarification, I don't plan on eating anything I find during my first trip (unless it's one of few edible mushrooms that is near impossible to misidentify), and if I do eat anything later it will be one variety at a time in very small portions. That way if I find myself poisoned I can at least take a sample to the doc with me. :) Besides, I feel really good about the future. Don't dash my dreams.

Do you have any thoughts you'd like to share on dying with natural pigments? Or ideas about mushroom forays near/around Seattle and the Puget Sound?


  1. This is a great endeavour. I have been looking at food dehydrator as well. My friend makes amazing kale, and sweet, rosemary chips using her dehydrator. Mushrooms would be a great addition as well. I'm working on my own food preservation. Thanks for always enlightening me.

  2. **Hint hint**

    haha. I'll make sure mom reads this post... your birthday and christmas are coming up soon.

    i'm excited for you to start this. some days i wish i wasn't in college so i could do more fun things. (like not reading endless textbook chapters and taking quiz after quiz)

  3. I love mushrooms and have always wanted to learn more about gathering them. In Russia, we'd go on picnics in the forest and even the very young children knew which were poisonous and which were okay - I learned to recognize a few but not as many as your average three-year-old.

    I also have a dehydrator on my wish list. Liam loves dried fruits and veggies and it's such an easy way to get them in for snacks! I love making fruit leather!


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