I have always had a passion for wild foods, fungi in general I find quite mysterious. However, the warnings about those species that can be fatal have been a deterrent for me to gather wild mushrooms myself, even after taking several classes and reading a handful of books. I still feel the best way to harvest mushrooms is with an expert! A recent hike in our local parts with a new friend and neighbor of ours (who happens to be a mycologist) led us on an expedition to find chanterelles. These delicious wild mushrooms have a wonderful scent some say smell like apricots but I think they are sweet and earthy with a delicate meaty flavor.
We learned that any and all edible mushrooms should be well cooked before consuming, as raw mushrooms have carcinogens which over time can be toxic. (So much for those white button mushrooms in your salads.)
To prepare the chanterelles first gently wash the dirt off, being careful not to rub the gills to much since all the flavor is in there. Then remove any brown parts, cut or tear the remaining clean mushrooms into small pieces and saute in lots of butter with an onion. It is important to saute them for a long time, until the water is all cooked out and they start to look very meaty. They also need to be cooked right away after being harvested. I washed and cooked a huge basketful then put them in pint jars to freeze. I will pull them out here and there for omelets, quiche, pasta dishes, or whatever we like mushrooms with (except these are way better than any grocery store mushroom). You can really eat them with any meal they are so yummy!