Alright so that headline is a bit of an eye grabber but I do like it. At this time of year I love mushroom spotting and occasionally picking and eating.
The first wild mushroom I ever picked and ate was when I was about seven or eight and the mushroom in question was a common puffball. Back home Mum fried it in salt and butter for me and I ate like a Queen. Looking back, I enjoy the irony that I could forage and eat wild mushrooms but not use the cooker. I also learnt about all sorts of stuff that I couldn’t eat, happily there were also lots of fly argarics around (the fairy mushroom, bright red, white spots), so a very obvious eater and an even more obvious DO NOT TOUCH. Since then, my mushroom habits haven’t changed much, the mushrooms I pick and eat are really obvious ones that don’t look like anything else and then I fry them in salt and butter (and also garlic). I would normally add wine because, wine. But wine and wild mushrooms can sometimes be a really lousy combination. Cramping over porcelain with head in bucket type combination.
Today I may have discovered a new one to eat. It smells delicious, proper mushroomy, and a did a nibble and spit and that was also delicious but I am now waiting for some confirmations that it is indeed Hen in the Wood, Grifola Frondosa. This is a different mushroom to Chicken in the Wood. The only thing it can be mistaken for, is one that inedible but not poisonous. This is as brave as I get.*
Incidentally the taste and spit test? Nibble a piece no larger than half your little finger nail. Get a taste then spit it out. Do NOT swallow. I also don’t do this if I am completely uncertain of what the mushroom is and I absolutely don’t do this if I am aware that there is a possibility of a poisonous species. Some people do and swear that its OK and they have of course lived to tell the tale. But I absolutely don’t. And if you choose to, and then die, don’t blame me.
This year the only edibles I have found have been Chanterelles. Poor me. Ha ha. So something like hitting the lottery, never found before and now I understand the fuss. They were excellent, found growing through an ivy floor up in the Idless Woods.
I have also found several Blushers which are apparently tasty but are easily mistaken for The Panther which is poisonous to the extent of being lethal. So, no. I shall never be tasting a Blusher in case I get it wrong. Permanently.
* Turns out it wasn’t Hen of the Wood, just plain old Meripilus Giganticus, Giant Polypore.
Liz Hurley as well as being the owner of this blog, runs a bookshop in Cornwall, right by the sea and writes books. You can buy them in her shop (of course), Waterstones and other outlets as well as Amazon.
When she’s not reading, she’s writing and when she’s not writing, she’s walking. And when she’s not doing any of that she’s binging on box sets and sleeping.
This website is for her Cornish titles. Her fiction can be found at www.lizhurleywrites.com