Sunday, 18 March 2012

local food: mushrooms

In the last few weeks it feels like I have joined a secret society.
It's hard to get information about foraging mushrooms and we Kiwis tend to be a touch paranoid about them, expecting most of them to be poisonous. I think some of it is probably just some slight discomfort and fear about foraged foods.
But this year the world of foraged fungi has opened up to our family. At last.
A poster lent by a friend and a dash of curiosity and courage and checking and rechecking identification.
We all know the poisonous toadstool so they are obvious to keep away from. Also early on in our searching I found a "death cap". It was good to positively identify it and feel more confident with our identification skills. We chucked it and washed our hands well - apparently you only need a teaspoon of one of those for it to be all over. Now we just have a blanket rule to keep away from mushrooms with white gills.
It's an excellent season for mushrooms. Every time it rains, think of them. I have been watching a few over the last few days, waiting for them to plump up and crossing my fingers other foragers don't get to them first. And then it rained last night and they indeed "mushroomed" overnight and were in our frypan this evening.
What abundance.
For more information, try here, the library and just start looking and asking around.
I'd tell you about some good spots to gather them but they're top secret.

Posted by Jacinda, who also occasionally writes at

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