Tuesday, 22 October 2013

'shroom update

No recipes in this post, just some pictures of my most recent edible fungi finds.  Check it out;

Hedgehog Mushroom / Wood Hedgehog (Hydnum repandum):

Hedgehog Mushrooms often grow in clusters or long strings
The tell-tale spines of the Hedgehog Mushroom make it one of the safest mushrooms to pick and eat

The Hedgehog Mushroom is one of the best edible mushrooms and is occasionally found demanding high prices in markets, though often under the French name, 'Pied de Mouton' - meaning 'mutton's foot', as the cap supposedly looks like, you guessed it, the foot (or should that be hoof?) of a sheep.

Terracotta Hedgehog (Hydnum rufescens):

Terracotta Hedgehogs growing in a long line under Beech and Pine

 The Terracotta Hedgehog is not as tasty as the Wood Hedgehog, but still basket-worthy if found in profusion.

Trumpet Chanterelle (Cantharellus tubaeformis):

The Trumpet Chanterelle is a great edible mushroom, and, like the Hedgehog Mushroom, is also a staple of wild mushroom market stalls.   It is usually not too difficult to collect these funghi by the basket load, but it can sometimes be tricky to locate them in the first place, that is until you have got your eye in - once you have seen one or two, you need only look carefully around you and the chances are that the forest floor will be covered in them.

Trumpet Chanterelles are very well camouflaged, even when you are standing right on top of them.
I count over 70 mushrooms in this patch of leaf litter.

Once you get to ground-level, the yellow stems span for as far as the eye can see

Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa):

 Hen of the Woods growing on a moss covered tree stump. Taken on an iPhone

This mushroom has a flesh that retains its firm texture after cooking, making it perfect in stews (see previous post), though it is equally at home in a creamy sauce served with pasta.

A fine young specimen

Fairy Ring Champignon / Scotch Bonnet (Marasmius oreades): 

Although they may not look like much, the Fairy Ring Champignon is, in my opinion, one of the best edible mushrooms out there - it has a wonderfully rich, nutty flavour.

These funghi are the scourge of lawn-lovers, often leaving a dark ring of grass after the fruit bodies have disappeared 

Porcelain Mushroom (Oudemansiella mucida):

I had never eaten Porcelain Mushrooms before gathering the ones shown in the pictures here.  They are extremely slimy and although I tried to wipe off the majority of the slime, it persisted through the cooking process (I just fried them in butter) and I can't say they were that great, in fact, I would go so far as to say they were quite unpleasant - perhaps I need to give them a second chance, or perhaps I should just stick to other more tried-and-tested 'shrooms

Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius):

White Saddle (Helvella crispa):

In Roger Phillips' book 'Mushrooms', he states that the White Saddle is edible, but poor.  I would disagree, although it doesn't have a strong, mushroomy flavour, the texture is firm and quite pleasant.  As its appearance is so very strange, I think it would be a great mushroom to put in a risotto for that bit of extra jazz.

The Prince (Agaricus augustus):

A very tasty edible mushroom - I just hope the inhabitants of this grave didn't mind me leaning over and picking them!

Snowy Waxcap (Hygrocybe virginea):

Care must be taken when picking this mushroom as the deadly Fool's Funnel (Clitocybe rivulosa) and the poisonous Ivory Funnel (Clitocybe dealbata) could be mistaken to those not in the know. However, if you are completely confident that what you have found is a Snowy Waxcap, then I would strongly recommend picking them, as they are quite tasty!

Pink Waxcap (Hygrocybe calyptriformis):

Although the Pink Waxcap is an edible species, I must point out that I did not pick any of the specimens here, as they are on the endangered species list.  I have included them merely for their pink majesty and beauty.

An older specimen

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