I was going to tell you about blusher mushrooms this week (disappointing, but I think that was a result of the way I cooked them) but then I found these:
They had a grey-green dusting that gave the odd impression that the mushroom itself had gone mouldy.
Not put off by the mouldy appearance, I picked one and took it home to look it up. I'm thoroughly enjoying learning about all these new mushrooms, both edible and poisonous. It's fun just acquiring new knowledge. Also, if these are edible... they're big and there are lots of them!
Thanks to my friend Gill for alerting me to the ludicrously good deal available from the Book People, I am now in possession of ten River Cottage Handbooks, including one on mushrooms. This is an excellent book to learn from, with a limited selection so you don't get overwhelmed, but extensive enough to include most of the things I've tried looking up so far, including this one. There's plenty of helpful general advice, including the point that since mushrooms are essentially fruit, you don't harm the parent by picking them, especially as they've almost certainly dropped their spores by the time you see them. If you leave some, it's for the benefit of other animals (including humans), not the mushroom itself.
Back to today's find: It turns out that the unappetizing green dusting is a key identifying feature, as there are very few green mushrooms. I found my mushroom in the book, then followed the author's advice and consulted a few other (online) sources as well. Having identified this as the edible greencracked brittlegill, I headed out again to harvest them. Some hid...
... but I hunted them down.
What a haul! I could hardly believe my luck at finding all of these, especially as it's not a common mushroom. These can be eaten raw, but I generally prefer my mushrooms cooked, so I fried one to see what it was like.
No great claims are made for the flavour of this mushroom, and it was indeed very mild. In fact, it mostly tasted of the butter I cooked it in. This is fine. Lack of strong flavour makes it much easier to sneak it into things without Ian noticing. This evening, several went into a pie filling - undetected as far as I know - padding out some leftover bolognaise sauce. Excellent - free food!
The rest of the haul are sliced and drying on the rack. Hopefully they'll keep well for future use.
Also harvesting this week
Fairy ring champignon (drying)
Rhubarb (not mine), made into cordial
Potatoes (can't remember when I dug these up - could have been a week ago)
Courgette puree (from freezer)
Crab apple and rosemary jelly
Dandelion and honeysuckle ale
Foraged food challenge summary page here.