28 October 2012

Fungi Foraging


 Last Sunday I went fungi foraging in Templeton Woods
in Dundee.

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.

Puffballs:

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:

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.
 
Purple Deceivers:

Purple deceivers are small purple mushrooms found among leaves on the floor of coniferous woodlands. If you look underneath the mushroom cap you will see evenly spaced gills, but the identifier with these mushrooms are the smaller gills that run from the outside edge, but do not go all the way to the stem.

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




Disclosure: I paid for my mushroom foraging trip (actually, my friend Andrew did as we didn't have time to stop at a bank on the way.) It was great value at only £3.50.

28 comments:

  1. What a lovely day Jac and a useful one too. Purple Deceivers are a great name, though they sound like something you really shouldn't eat. I really like puff balls and find them quite flavoursome, but we haven't been lucky enough to find one for a few years. We did come across a great crop of field mushrooms a few weeks ago though which went home with us. Chocolate mushroom risotto is a good way of using them too ;-)

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    1. You always amaze me with the dishes you add chocolate too Choclette. I have to say that field mushrooms are my favourite mushroom.

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  2. Great photos. What are false gills, Jac?
    I think that's amazing value for £3.50!

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    1. False gills are if the gills are not all separate, but just a block. They should be individual gills, like blades with spaces in between. The false gills on chanterelles are more like folds.

      It was great value :)

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  3. I am so very jealous!... there are so many mushrooms all over the place here and I am not brave (or stupid) enough to pick them... fab post and thanks for the link xx

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    1. You are so right to be cautious Dom, but you should see if there are any foraging walks in your area. This is a good time for them.

      Had to link the soup, it looks fabulous!

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  4. I could do with a consultation with that Jim! Did you see my blogpost called "Fungus Maximus"? http://marksvegplot.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/fungus-maximus.html

    I saw about 20 different types of fungus in a patch of trees just across the road from my house, but I don't know if any of them are edible.

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    1. Well, don't use them then Mark, you really need an expert. I will have a wee look at your post,. Thanks for the link :)

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  5. Fabulous! I do love mushrooms, so delicious, but I would never dream of foraging for them myself, even with an expert! Glad you had such a good time.

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    1. Thanks Caroline. It does pay to be cautious.

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  6. There is something about mushrooms that look prehistoric to me! Looks a fun trip out. I've always wanted to know about foraging - it's appealing!

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    1. It the most fun CC, you should give it a go sometime :)

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  7. I am SO jealous! It looks like you had a fabulous day! Foraging is something I've been hoping to do for ages having read so much about it, but I've not yet had the chance :( Mushrooms in particular appeal to me though as I see them everywhere, but as other have said I'd never [ick without the help of an expert! Thanks for the lovely list of mushroom recipes too :) that will keep me going for a while :p

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    1. I hope you get a chance Emmy, it was great fun :)

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  8. I've always wanted to go mushroom foraging but for some reason have never managed it. I will look for a walk similar to yours because you've inspired me. It looks like a great excursion. Do you feel you could pick mushrooms on your own now — I mean the three you identified? The little munchkin is getting so big, and he has very good taste in boots and vests! :)

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    1. I might try to find these three as I know them now, but I would still take a book with me to be doubly sure.

      Yes, he does look rather cute, although I am biased!

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  9. Oh, love the wee wellies! Our stuff finally arrived, and I pulled out my bright green ones. Bring on the muck!

    There are foragers in Muir Woods here, but it's substantially more expensive to take a course with them. I look forward to more 'shroom recipes!

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    1. You will be glad all your things arrived safely. Bright green wellies sound just the thing. Do you know I don't even have a pair. I wear my walking boots if it is muddy.

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  10. Very jealous, love mushrooms and the idea of being able to forage for them!

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  11. I would love to do fungi foraging! What a great time.

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  12. What a brilliant idea! How I WISH there was a similar trip down in Dorset. The photos of Cooper are gorgeous too!

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  13. What a great day out. My Sis In Law and some of my friends are quite keen to do this but I've always been a bit reluctant ... not sure why now I've seen your post. You have converted me ;0)

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    1. Yay, that is good Chele. I hope you give it a go :)

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  14. This trip is a wonderful experience! I love the idea of foraging mushrooms with a passionate expert! When I lived in Rome I was young, children-less and no interested in these type of activities that are pretty popular in the area around Rome. Now, I wish I could do it.

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I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x