Mushroom foraging is my favourite of all foraging harvests.
This time of year is a busy one for Foragers, my inbox is filled with emails & I love the enthusiasm that fungi brings people, to be inquisitive & ask “CAN I EAT THAT?”
This activates the HUNTER GATHERER INSTINCT in all of us, we are all descendants of foragers & the urge to pick wild food runs in all of our blood.
Unfortunately the generational information that used to come with that instinct has long since gone and we are left with a dangerous lack of information about what is safe and what is not safe to eat from Mother Nature’s food store.
So I thought I would take some time to share some of that basic knowledge with you
There are RULES & RULES OF THUMB (or etiquette) to mushroom foraging
How closely you choose to follow them is up to you…
BUT I share these years of knowledge with the optimism that people will learn to do the right thing, have respect for the land & the amazing free food we are offered, without being greedy.
RULE #1 IF IN DOUBT LEAVE IT OUT
RULE #2 IF IT STAINS YELLOW OR GREEN YOU SHOULD NOT BE KEEN, If it turns blue it’s up to you, but I’m not responsible for what you do! 🙂
RULE #3 WHITE GILLS PROBABLY KILLS
RULE #4 ALWAYS DOUBLE TAP- Always double check your pick before consuming
RULE #5 BE RESPECTFUL OF THE FOREST – Treat your forest well and it will serve you well for many years to come
RULES OF THUMB
TAKE A BASKET TO EAT, TAKE A BASKET OF RUBBISH – it’s something I always try to do, as I pick a basket of mushrooms I take home with me a basket or bag of rubbish as payment for the Free Fungi supermarket!
ONLY TAKE WHAT YOU NEED – It is very exciting when you find a whole forest of mushrooms ripe for the picking, but remember to leave some for other foragers, animals and insects that also see that as tasty food.
LEAVE THE BABIES AND THE GRANDPARENTS – When you are picking try to only harvest the medium sized mushrooms, leaving the small babies – anything under a 20c coin so they can grow up and be harvested in their prime & leave the Grandparent mushrooms to spore the next generation – anything over a bread plate size.
TO CUT OR NOT TO CUT? –That is the question– my answer – is to cut, mainly so that my mushrooms in the basket aren’t covered in dirt and debris. If you cut the mushroom at the stem or if you pull out a mushroom from the ground then cut the stalk, either way it’s a matter of preference and some debate in the mycology community. I personally cut and leave the mycelium under the ground intact because that’s what I was taught to do and that’s my little ritual, but I’m equally not going to say someone else who does it differently is wrong either. You do you 🙂
ANY LITTLE BROWN MUSHROOM SMALL THAN YOUR FINGER ISN’T WORTH IT! – Most tiny mushrooms are inedible, difficult to harvest enough for a feed if they are edible or they are poisonous as all get out!
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS – Smell your mushrooms- trust your Hunter Gatherer Instinct- if something smells or looks not quite right – trust yourself & leave it out.
IDENTIFICATION – If you don’t know what your mushroom is & are asking for identification information please keep the following in mind… Take a few photos From the top with the colour of the Cap, from underneath to show the colour of the gills and the stem, what habitat it was growing in- what trees- was it growing off of some wood or in the ground? It’s also worthwhile doing a scratch test by scratching the cap and the stem and taking photos as the flesh oxidises so see if there is a visual bruise colour change- this is not a fail safe for all mushrooms, but it helps with ID. The next step in identification, which can be quite helpful is to do a spore print test.
Spore print test– place your mushroom minus the stem on dark and light surface and leave for 24 hours to see what colour the spore turns out to be- In some mushrooms this is the difference between poisonous and edible.
MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL- IF YOU CAN PLEASE LEARN MUSHROOM FORAGING IN PERSON FROM AN EXPERIENCED FORAGER OR PROFESSIONAL EDUCATOR AND NEVER TRUST ONLINE IDENTIFCATION OF FB GROUPS OR FORUMS!!!!
OUR NEXT MUSHROOM WORKSHOPS
SOLD OUT Saturday 11th June 11am-1:30pm @ Taradale Mineral Springs Reserve
Saturday 18th June 11am-1:30pm @ Taradale Mineral Springs Reserve