This is the time of year when the husband and I wander around the garden eyeing up the funghi and asking each other if we think this particular example is edible or likely to result in a slow and excruciating death from poisoning.
I love funghi, I foraged deep in the Forests every year in Finland for amazing chanterelles and never batted an eyelid, so sure was I (with my Finnish guide) that I knew what I was doing and that my identification was spot on. Thankfully, I got away with it.
Older, wiser and much more risk-averse, here in England I am much more of a wuss about these things. Wild mushrooms are one of my favourite things, wild mushroom soup sits up there with Oysters and Gin as one of my top ten.
So it goes that at this time of year, I wander round woodland and even in our garden, knowledgeably eyeing up a range of funghi and poring over identification guides while the husband keeps asking me if they are edible.
“I don’t know, I think so, it looks very much like a horse mushroom…”
“Great, are you going to cook them then?”.
“I don’t know, you see it might also be a Death Cap, I am not 100% sure” .
“Ok, maybe not then”
Every year this happens, it has now become a bit of a ritual. This year is no exception, in this part of England we have had the most glorious early autumn and it is still really warm and mild, but the rain and wind has finally arrived with a vengeance. Almost overnight, after 12 hours of torrential rain, the garden is alive with hundreds of funghi, most of them much larger and more numerous than in previous years. My favourite Bolete (I think that is what they are…..) have reappeared under their favourite birch, but this year we have some strangers that don’t even appear to be logged in my Funghi books (of which I have quite a few). I assume they are poisonous, because, as I say, I am a wuss. But the more I look at the pretty turned up ones, the more I wonder…then again, they might be deadly.
So, cast your eye over my photos and if you have any idea what they may be, please do let me know (don’t worry I won’t eat them on the basis of your guess!). No, this year, as with all other years, I will um and ah, tell the husband I am absolutely certain that this is a bolete and this is a parasol and yes they are edible, and then I will pop to the Farmers’ market and buy some farmed ones. *sighs*
Happy foraging x