This year has been a bumper year for mushrooms – I have never seen so many in the wood, and my inlaws have been busy picking and preparing enough cep to keep them throughout the whole of the next year!
They came to have a walk through the wood and do some mushroom identification and also to see how well the dehydrator would work on the cep they brought down with them.
We started with the basic rules – for almost every edible mushroom, there is a look-alike that will either try to kill you or make you ill! So unless you are absolutely certain, best leave it be.
Unfortunately there are no golden rules when it comes to identifying unfamiliar mushrooms, edible or otherwise. Deadly poisonous toadstools can share the same characteristics as many edible fungi. www.mushroomdiary.co.uk/mushroom-identification/
Identification books were handed round, and the main parts of a mushroom to look at/for were pointed out. (This is a good website.)
The quick ones to identify near the start were some shaggy parasols (no photos)
The next were probably horse mushrooms. But as we weren’t certain enough, and yellow-stainers are very similar (although they didn’t have the tell tale yellow stain), it didn’t seem worth it. There were also definitely yellow stainers nearby.
While we were looking explicitly for parasols (with a snakeskin stem) and cep as easily identifiable and safe mushrooms, eventually it seemed better to just look at and admire the cute little mushrooms that seemed to be dotted around everywhere.
This one we were pretty sure was a false chanterelle – so bad on two points (false chanterelle and “pretty sure” wasn’t good enough!)
We did pick a number to try to identify later, and do some spore tests with:
We had a great walk and were really impressed with the range of mushrooms we found, even though there weren’t any edible ones that we were comfortable enough with to actually eat!
Later on we used the dehydrator on the cep that K&V had brought with them, and that worked brilliantly, so we now have a couple of jars to re-hydrate and use in the future.
It was a really fun experience, but I don’t think I love eating mushrooms enough to warrant doing the courses and learning that I think you need to be confident enough to forage for mushrooms on my own.