Fungi foraging should not be undertaken without an expert as many fungi can make you very ill and some that will kill you.
We gathered together in Templeton Woods in Dundee and where taken on our fungi hunt by fungi expert Jim Cook and some of the countryside rangers. It was a great day for it. The woods were lovely and damp after a downpour the day before, but we had a beautiful sunny day for our hunt.
We trekked around the woods finding different species and bringing them back to Jim, who identified them for us, telling us their common names, latin names and a story for most of them. We heard some gruesome tales of mushroom misadventures. Of people needing liver transplants and others who didn't make it.
We found nearly 80 varieties, but only 3 edible mushrooms.
Puffballs, chanterelles and purple deceivers, also known as amethyst deceivers.
The distinguishing feature of all puffballs is that they do not have an open cap with spore-bearing gills.
The fungi are called 'puffballs' because clouds of brown dust-like spores are emitted when the mature fruiting body bursts.
If you slice a puffball, you will see it is white inside. Cut it in half, if it is white inside it is fine to eat it, if it is brown inside don't eat it.
Flavour - is quite bland, but slightly nutty.
Chanterelles are yellowy orange mushrooms that feature a broadly flat shallowly depressed cap, a fleshy stem, and false gills on the underside of the cap. Chanterelles are well known for their fruity, apricot-like odour.
Chanterelles are one of the most prized and sought after wild mushrooms. We didn't find many, so there must have been quite a few foragers out collecting them before we got there. Apparently Templeton Woods are a regular haunt for foragers who pick mushrooms for local restaurants.
Flavour - quite meaty and a little peppery.
Flavour - not much of a flavour at all. More used for the beautiful colour that will remain if you cook them lightly. Ours lost their colour as we cooked them quite roughly over a camp fire.
While we were out collecting fungi, some of the park rangers built a campfire, so when we got back to the camp, there were different mushrooms cooked for us to try. While we were trying those, they cooked our collected edible mushrooms so we could try them too.
We had a great day fungi hunting and it was a joy to listen to Jim's stories and see his enthusiasm, but please remember to go mushroom hunting with an expert and don't pick any mushrooms unless you really now what they are.
While we were fungi hunting, Cooper had a brilliant time running around the woods with Graham. Here are a few photos.
Just in case I have stirred a hunger for mushrooms, here are a few mushroom recipes:
|tagliatelle con spinaci e funghi|
blog: Tinned Tomatoes
|vegetable biryani stuffed mushrooms|
blog: Farmersgirl Kitchen
|mushroom, rosemary, garlic and spring onion soup|
blog: Belleau Ktichen
|stuffed mushrooms with sundried tomatoes, goats cheese and olives|
blog: Lisa's Kitchen