A mushroom knife is one of the true mushroom hunter’s first tools of choice. I say that because if I head out to forage for mushrooms and I don’t have a mushroom knife with me, I feel a little naked.
The feeling reminds me a little when I forget to put my wristwatch on. It’s an empty feeling that refuses to diminish over time, like something major is missing.
The best thing about having a mushroom knife with you is that the whole process is made that much easier when using a proper tool. The mushroom is easier to obtain, easier to clean and the final product you place into your basket is mostly in better shape.
When I don’t have my mushroom knife with me, I find that ripping the mushroom from the ground or tree sometimes damages it, there’s dirt left on it and the basket ends up with debris inside it.
Thankfully, there’s already an article HERE about the different types of mushroom knives available. In this article, I want to pass on some simple techniques for using one. There are a few steps involved, but even lonely beginners will have no problem following these basic steps.
Simple Steps to Using a Mushroom Knife
Step #1: Sharpen Your Blade
You may not need to do this when you first buy your mushroom knife, but some companies will also ship theirs out with a blunt edge. In any case, it’s best to learn from the beginning, so get busy sharpening. Using a whetstone is best and there’s a great article HERE to help you out.
Step #2: The Right Cut
After spending a fair amount of time on finding the perfect mushroom, you’ll now need to use your knife. I find the best way to do this is to push your thumb on one side of the stem and the blade on the opposite side.
This prevents the knife from damaging the tender mushroom fibers, giving you a much cleaner result. Divide the pressure evenly between your thumb and the blade, giving you a perfect result.
Step #3: Use the Brush
If you are anything like me, then you’ll already have a brush attached to your mushroom knife. Use it to brush away any dirt and grit, ensuring you have the cleanest possible mushroom to place into your basket.
There are a few different varieties of brushes attached to mushroom knives. I always tend to prefer those that use authentic horsehair. I just find that they are a lot softer on the mushroom.
Step #4: Clean the Mushroom Knife
Always make sure you thoroughly clean your mushroom before putting it away. While some models will have a sheath, others will be the fold-away variety. Regardless of which you have, always make sure you give the blade a thorough clean before you put it away.
This prevents dirt from infiltrating your sheath or locking mechanism. Having dirt in those areas will only lead to your blade losing its edge faster than you’d like.