This (see picture) was the haul from todays' final guided forage of the year, unless any more bookings come in. It was one of those days when you don't find much in terms of species variety but you find no shortage of one particular species. Today that species was Cantherellus tubaeformis, the Winter Chanterelle. Perhaps not the easiest mushroom to spot, but when there's ten pairs of eyes and the mushrooms happen to be all over the place then there's a good chance that everybody will have enough to take a few home. There's also some Lepista nuda (Wood Blewitt), Clitocybe geotropa (Trooping Funnel) and a small selection of other species.
2010 has been a strange year for fungi. It started with the coldest winter since 1963, which was followed, at least in the south east corner of the UK, by the driest summer in living memory. This meant an exceptionally poor off-season. September saw an explosion in fungi and for a while it looked like 2010 would rival 2009 as a classic year for mushrooms. We were then hit by a couple of weeks of December-like weather in the middle of October and most of the autumn species never recovered from the shock. However, I will always remember the 2010 mushroom season for the abundance of two species which I am usually pleasantly surprised to find. The first is Sparrasis crispa, the Cauliflower Fungus. I searched for many years before I finally found one of these in edible condition, and I don't recall ever finding two of them in one place before. This year they have been turning up regularly but right at the end of one of the guided forages in September we came across a whole family of them growing together (see picture). They take forever to clean, because they are an attractive home to invertebrates and tend to pick up sand and pine needles from the ground, but it is worth the bother because they are very tasty. The other was Hydnum repandum, the Hedgehog Fungus (see picture). They weren't growing all over the place like the Winter Chanterelles we collected today - Hedgehog fungus likes specific spots - but wherever they were growing there were quite a few of them and they have just kept on coming relentlessly from the end of August right through until today. Admittedly today's specimens had already been thoroughly sampled by the local wildlife, but it was fitting that they managed to put in yet another appearance just to remind me that 2010 has been the year of the hedgehog. This fungus is unmistakable, and suitable for beginners to pick. Very few mushrooms have spines instead of gills, and anything that looks like these is edible. Some people brush off the spines before cooking, either because they are thought to be bitter or, in my case, because they look unpalatably like flies eggs when detached!
The 2010 mushroom season is not, as looked possible two weeks ago, completely over. Currently weather conditions are very mild for November and there are still edible fungi to be found. If the weather Gods are on my side then we have a mild winter ahead of us and I can finally do what I planned to do last year, which is to forage throughout the winter. I am still available for guided sessions for the rest of this year if anybody is interested in searching for winter chanterelles and wood blewitts....and hedgehogs. (see below)
Our resident wild food expert, Geoff Dann, is available for tuition in foraging for fungi.
Our resident wild food expert, Geoff Dann, is available for tuition in foraging for fungi. The area covered is Sussex and Surrey. Arrange your own group (maximum 5 persons), dates and locations to be arranged according to demand. The minimum cost is £80 for 3 hours, plus £20 per extra hour. There will be no charge if we don't find anything (which won't happen!)
its over for now at least for me i have incredible amount of mushrooms frozen and dried any kind i can imagine for the first time i frozed parasol mushrooms and i've just eat them yeaterday and have to admit i was surprise they tested incredible well even they spended over 2 monhs inthe freezer ;-) anyways can wait for the spring ;-) for the couliflower mushrooms i dont pick it at all to rare and to beautiful in most of europe you cant pick this specimen . you'll be heavy fined if catched . surprised u can pick him inuk . and one more thing i hope you are not picking mushrooms in that plastic bags . you schould know u're stopping them from spreading . if you are picking in those bags is a big lol from me ;-) good luck and hope to hear from all of you next year . the season for me is over . kind regards
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Wild Mushroom Identification - Recommended Books for All Skill Levels: Every amateur mycologist should have a decent library of books, here are the top five books I highly recommend for wild mushroom identification:
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