Well they have been sending a lot recently...
I know nearly everyone hates a wet August but for the mushroom hunter it is something of a treat and this is the first mushroom rich beginning to September for many years, in Dorset at least.
And the continuing good weather (torrential rain!) should ensure mushrooms right into October. If you ever thought of going out to look for mushrooms then this is the time.
The last three years have been rather poor but 2010 promises a bumper crop. Just remember to take it slowly, always check every characteristic of your find to makes sure it matches the description in your book, never believe the old wives tales about peelable caps or silver spoons and never jump to conclusions.
Well, of course, I am not satisfied to just look at pictures so I have been out mushrooming for the last three days. Here is what I found:
Ceps (lots!), Chanterelle (just a few), Saffron Milkcap (lots and lots), Deceiver, Tawny Grisette, Charcoal Burner, Green-cracked Brittlegill, Bay Bolete, Giant Puffball (a perfect, small, firm one), Blusher, Parasols (more than I could easily carry) and a huge Meripilus giganteus (not particularly edible but very beautiful).
I also came across on nice group of Hare's Ears (Otidia onotica), again not edible but a lovely find.
The Parasols I cooked in a proper tempura batter (made with corn flour, plain flour, salt and cold lager and only lightly whisked so that it remains lumpy.
It is a glorious starter when served with a soy sauce, rice wine and sesame seed dip.
The only problem I had with my mushroom haul was my own fault - I proudly showed the Ceps to Hugh and ended up losing of few. It's not the first time this has happened - I never learn.
- In the River Cottage Mushroom Handbook John explains how to identify and collect (or avoid) the mushrooms and toadstools we are most likely to encounter in the UK with diagrams, detailed profiles and handy tips.
The handbook is completed by more than thirty simple and delicious mushroom recipes from the River Cottage team.
Order your Mushroom Handbook now for our special offer price of £9.99 (RRP £14.99). If you are a River Cottage Member you will get a further 10% discount too!