With autumn comes a whole range of new foraging opportunities, including bramble picking, rose hip picking and mushroom foraging. I have in fact never foraged for mushrooms before, largely due to my fear of picking something poisonous as I think a lot of mushrooms look like all the other mushrooms!
But ever since I met my good friend Helle, who’s husband happens to be a Mycologist, that’s a fungi specialist to you and me, I have been interested in trying my hand at scouting out those little fungi’s.
Helles husband, Nevil Kilkenny is at the centre for Scottish fungi research and runs mushroom forays at Shepherds Cottage each year teaching people how and where to forage, and most importantly- how to do so safely.
Please do not use my limited knowledge as a guide to identify mushrooms, rather get a good book and go on a course if you are keen on experiencing how fun finding mushrooms really is.
On our little outing we managed to find, Hedgehog Mushrooms, Chanterelles, and Purple Deceivers, all of which I smothered in butter and garlic and served on homemade bread.
Usually when I go for a walk in the woods, I have my eyes turned upward, scanning the tree lines and taking in the colours of the leaves and listening to the bird life. However, on this trip to the woods, our eyes where keenly fixed on the woodland floor, scanning the moss and fallen leaves for signs of mushroom life. Its a very different way to experience the forest I thought, as a looked at my dog and noticed that’s what he does all day long.
The mushroom season runs right through to October, so there is plenty of time to get out and experience it for yourself. But never eat anything that you are not 100% sure of.
Wild Garlicky Mushroom Toast
400g mixed mushrooms
4 garlic cloves
a big bunch of parsley
4 sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste
a squirt of lemon
Brush of any woodland dirt with a stiff brush, and roughly chop any large mushrooms into smaller pieces.
Heat the butter and gently fry the mushrooms for 3-4 min. Next add the garlic and fry for a further 2 min, finally add the herbs, lemon and salt and pepper, whilst stirring.
Serve immediately, on crusty bread, and enjoy.