John's top mushroom tips
Mushrooms are appearing now and our John Wright (@johnmushroom) has been tweeting his top tips. In case you missed it, here they are in full!
#1 Avoid speculatively picking a large quantity of unknown fungus. It may be rare. ID just one first.
#2: Obvious, but ignoring it has been the downfall of many: Only ever eat something if you are 100% sure of its name.
#3: Learn appearance of Death Cap, Yellow Stainer, Brown Rollrim, Panther Cap, Sulphur Tuft, Webcaps, Fibrecaps, Poison Pies.
#4: Learn ten easy species to become a foraging legend. Hedgehog Mushroom, Parasol, Horse Mushroom, G. Puffball, Chanterell, Shaggy Inkcap, Chicken of the Woods, Cauliflower Fungus, Cep, Wood Blewit.
#5: Unless all experts, only one person should be in charge of a foray and say what can be eaten. Committees kill.
#6: Don't pick everything - the habitat will look ravaged. Invertebrates such as fungal gnats rely entirely on fungi.
#7: To ID something, record habitat, study entire fungus including base of stem carefully. Only then look at the books.
#8: ID checklist: Habitat; smell; cap, stem and gill/tube colour + change on bruising; spore colour; ring/no ring on stem? Surface texture; cap/stem texture; shape of cap/stem; bag at base of stem? (important!); taste (advanced class only!).
#9: Take two baskets. One for sure and certain edibles, one for samples of unknowns for id.
#10: Buy at least 3 good books. Phillips "Mushrooms", the Collins guide by Sterry, modesty forbids my mentioning the third.
Bonus mushrooming tip: All mushrooms are magic, but some are more magic than others.
Of course, the ideal way to learn is to come on John's Mushroom Foraging courses in October!