Copyright Malcolm Storey, www.bioimages.org.uk
BLEWITS MUST ALWAYS BE COOKED BEFORE EATING OR THEY WILL MAKE YOU ILL
Blewits (Lepista species) have a pleasant smell and are good to eat, cooked like mushrooms. Blewit is an old English form of the word "blue" which perfectly describes the lilac-blue colour often seen on the base and stem of small- to medium-sized examples of this handsome mushroom. There are two closely related species which are both edible; the wood blewit and the field blewit. The wood blewit, Lepista nudum, grows mainly in woods in late autumn and is wholly lilac or purple.
The wood blewit is found in Europe and North America and is becoming more common in Australia, where it appears to have been introduced. It is a saprotrophic species, growing alone, scattered, gregariously, or in clusters on decaying leaf litter. It may produce several crops a year, so check your patches regularly! In England and Scotland, wood blewits are found around hedgerows, country gardens near compost heaps and deciduous woodland where the soil is rich with humus. Wild wood blewits have been sold at English markets since the 18th century.
This mushroom can range from lilac to purple-pink and grows up to 8 cm. Buttons of the mushroom are very blue/purple. Most of the time, unfortunately, the colour fades out to a dull brown as the fruiting bodies mature. Mature specimens have a darker colour and flatter cap while younger ones are lighter with more convex caps. You can usually see the remnants of the purple in the gills and sometimes in the flesh of the mushroom. It makes a beautiful addition to any dish(COOKED)
The cap is 4-15 cm wide, convex with an inrolled margin when young, becoming broadly convex to nearly flat, or with an uplifted, often wavy margin in age. The surface is smooth, slightly sticky and shiny when moist, somewhat shiny to dull when dry; sometimes finely cracked over the center. The colour is purple, or purplish with brown to greyish shades when fresh, fading to brownish, flesh-coloured, tan, or paler. The gills are crowded and attached to the short, stout stem -sometimes by a notch-or beginning to run down the stem, and are pale lavender to violet or lilac when fresh, fading to buff, pinkish-buff or brownish in age. The stem is 2-5 cm long and 1-3 cm thick and is streaked lilac or coloured like the gills, becoming brownish in age.
The flesh of the wood blewit is thick, rather soft and purplish to lilac-buff. The taste is not distinctive, or slightly bitter, and it has a very distinctive excellent, fragrant perfumed smell, said to be caused by minute traces of strychnine, which has been likened by one author to that of frozen orange juice.
Caution is required when identifying wood blewits for eating as there are a number of other purple mushrooms and they can be confused with certain purple Cortinarius species, many of which may be poisonous. Wood blewits can be easily distinguished by their odour, as well as by their spore print. Wood blewits have a light (white to pale pink) spore print, while Cortinarius species produce a rusty brown spore print after several hours on white paper. Cortinarius species can also be distinguished by the presence of a cobwebby partial veil called a cortina. Many species of Cortinarius have been found to contain a toxin that causes serious damage to the kidneys, but only after a very long latent period, as the first symptoms do not appear until 2-14 days after the mushroom has been eaten. About 15% of reported cases have been fatal which means it is vital to be absolutely sure of what you are eating before you try wood blewits. Therefore leave them on paper for a while to make a spore print and check the spore colour.
The wood blewit is useful as it appears late in the season. Field blewits are often infested with fly larvae and don't store very well. They should therefore be used soon after picking. It is important to remember that they must be well cooked as they are known to cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. This is particularly likely if the mushrooms are consumed raw, though allergic reactions are known even from cooked blewits. Its season is autumn. It is a very strong flavoured mushroom that dries and reconstitutes well, and it goes particularly well with strongly flavoured vegetables such as onions and leeks.
Wood Blewits in Spring Herbs recipe (serves 4)
This is a simple way to highlight the flavour and texture of wood blewits. It works equally well on large, meaty field mushrooms and is best served as an entree or a dish to accompany a main course.
500g wood blewit mushrooms
2 cups coarse breadcrumbs
1/3 cup chives, finely chopped
1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup tarragon, finely chopped
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper
1 cup plain flour
3 eggs, beaten
100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Trim the blewit stalks at their base and cut the larger mushrooms into sections, top to bottom, about a centimetre thick. This will leave the edges of the cap as two semi-circular pieces, perfect for crumbing. The smaller mushrooms can be separated into cap, crumbed in one piece, and stem, which can be cut into two pieces. Combine the breadcrumbs, herbs and parmesan. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and mix well. Dust each mushroom piece with the flour and dredge them, one at a time, through the egg wash and then coat with the breadcrumbs. Make sure the crumbs are pressed well onto each piece. Heat the oil and lightly fry the mushrooms on each side until golden; about 45 seconds a side. Drain on absorbent paper, sprinkle with a little salt. If it's an entree, serve with wedges of lemon while still hot.
independent girls moscow on
Heya i?m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.
escorte Paris on
Wow! Thanks, This really did help!
mrs Ann Watson on
I have just been into the section on blew it mushrooms. In this section there is a photo of a fly agaric, red cap with white spots which is extremely poisonous. Also there are a few pictures of amethyst deceivers, do not know if they are poisonous but could be. I am extremely concerned that these photos in the wrong section could make someone eat poisonous mushrooms.
mrs Ann Watson on
Wrong photos in wood blewitt section.
Jeff Lawson on
Hi, just wondered if you know whether you can dry Blewits without cooking them first & then cook them safely after reconstitution? Thanks!
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