You have to cut them in half and wash them very carefully. Sometimes there are "bugs" in them. Once a LONG time ago mom found a thingy called something like this... saladmander... in one.
After they are all cut and cleaned you have to drain them and let them dry off a bit. Then mom puts them in a bag with flour and floofs them around. She frys them in 1/3 crisco shortening, 1/3 olive oil, and 1/3 margarine. She uses a 12" square skillet that she has a "bacon" weight for. That presses them down so they lay flat and fry nice. It takes her forever to fry them all.
Next we let them cool and eat them on bread. YUMMMMMM!!! If there are enough left... she puts those in the freezer until they are totally frozen and then puts them into freezer bags. We save one bag to have at Thanksgiving. If there are 2 bags frozen... we have them for Christmas... and in a GOOOOOOOD year we MIGHT just have one for Valentine's dinner.
There are a ton of "OLD CATS TAILS" about where and when and how to find mushrooms. I know for a fact that they are very much hard to see in the woods. One thingy that is NOT an old Cats Tail... If there is a lot of SNOW there will be More mushrooms in the following spring.
This year it has been soooooo dry here in April that they are not as big as usual. And they are pretty dry.
Five years ago dad found sooooo many that mom threaded them on sewing thread (with a needle) and hung them to DRY. That took about 5 days. Mom says they felt like chamois and weighed next to nothing. She kept them in jars and would put them in soups and stews and roasts with gravy.
There is a place called Moonlight Mushrooms, near Butler, PA, that is actually getting some to produce for them in the mines. About 12 years ago, mom stopped there and asked about them. They were selling for $250.00 a dried pound. Wonder how much they are now???
Someone asked if you can get sick from eating too many. YES... beclaws they are soooo rich and are also FRIED. SOOOO we never ever eat as many as we would like to.
They can only be found in the wild for a couple of weeks. There are several varieties. the furst up are what we call the "little gray ones". Next you find the Brown ones. And the last are the BIGGEST ones and we call them the "White Ones". Sometimes they will be as tall as 8 or 9 inches. One of those... makes a Full Sandwich.