I mentioned a few weeks back that I wanted to start taking advantage of free food and lo, a huge crop of mushrooms has reared its head in the back lawn. Now most mushrooms are edible but the majority of that most taste horrid and one or two really can do you harm so it is worth being sure you can identify what you are about to eat.
Visiting the Forest of Dean last Friday I mentioned this to my friend who gave me a book on fungi identification and suggested I took it down his garden, picked the crop under the tree at the bottom of the drive and looked them up. Nothing makes you more careful in your research than the prospect of eating the results if you think they are safe.
Well we were pretty sure we had identified a tricholoma columbetta. The picture fitted. The description fitted and the geography and chronology fitted (they grew there at that time of year). We then double checked by looking at all the pictures of ones like it and seeing if any of them killed you. One did but it was supposed to have a sickly smell and ours didn't. It was also smaller. So we chopped one up and cooked it in some garlic and butter and then, not wanting to watch the other one die horribly, both ate at the same time. It tasted horrid but we lived.
On the way home I stopped my car and put another specimen in the boot, just in case they needed an example at the hospital. That was Friday (symptoms of mushroom poisoning take 8-24 hours to show sometimes).
Today I had a go at identifying the three types that are showing through my lawn. Can't be certain about two of them but one is definitely a shaggy ink cap or lawyer's wig. It is now in tonight's mushroom soup, although the bulk of the ingredients came from Riverford Organic Vegetables, the sister company to River Nene who we used to use.
I may blog again tomorrow. Who knows?