So I am just back from the Wild Wonders Finnish Foraging Training session, easy for you to say!!
There were many highlights of the trip for me including milking a cow, spotting real berry Bear Poo and sipping coffee round the campfire in the Forests. Amazing people doing amazing things on their land with no fuss or ceremony, not trying to be hip or cool, just doing what nature intended by respectfully, mindfully and with real love living off and alongside the land. Beautiful.
There was another aspect of this trip that really got me moving, and that was all the different types of mushroom that we came across, and luckily for us, we had Mark Williams from Galloway Wild Foods to help teach us how to ID these beauties.
I’m on the start of a very long, a very very long journey into Mushroom land, and I’m really excited..and slightly nervous of course!
Excitingly, I met Chaga for the first time, I managed to find a wee bit to snaffle away to experiment with and I loved that one of my course mates described this fungi as ‘Anti-death’. I don’t think its very easy to find in Scotland, but not impossible I believe. I will be on the hunt now and will never look at a birch tree quickly ever again!
Here is a picture of my wee treasured bit..it looks just like a wee burnt bit of wood.
We learned about different ID features of mushrooms, like whether there are gills, false gills or pores and we started to see different mushrooms from the same family groups. The most abundant seemed to be the brittlegills (Russula), the gills of these flaked off like flaked almonds and the body of the mushroom crumbled like stale bread. We learned that they are all safe to eat but that some would make you feel a bit unwell if you ate a lot.. but the taste would not likely let you as they tasted very hot and spicy, and not in a nice way..
We found a few poisonous ones including the Fly agaric (Amanita muscaria), a beautiful mushroom, set to both pull you in and warn you of with it’s vibrant red colour. See Mark’s post here to learn more about it.
And now I’m home, equipped with my Mushroom ID book and newly purchased Finnish mushroom knife, and my
dog walking has got even busier. Now as well as edible and medicinal plant spotting (turning into such a geek) I’m on the mushroom hunt. And today for the first time I think I have positively ID’d my first, all by myslf, mushroom.
I hope I’m right, but I think a few days ago, I found a Matt Bolete (Xerocomus pruinatus), it was growing on a bit a waste ground next to some lovely wild nettles, colts foot and fireweed, amongst others.
It has been lying around on my dining room table for a few days now while I have stared at it and sniffed it and moved it around some, wondering what it was.
My family, just ignore all the random bits of plant and fungi left lying around now, but they all know not to throw it out!!!
It was getting a bit sorry and dried out looking so yesterday I finally sat down with the book and tried to key it out.
Pores-Yes.. So I go to the pore mushroom section…
I look at the pictures until I find one that looks right…
Firm Flesh- yes
Cap smooth brown and uneven -yes
Violet red rim on Cap, I cut it open and -yes theres a lovely red line just under the surface of the cap.
Flesh pale yellow, mine is sort of cream with yellow in the stipe and no blue colouration but I wondered if this is because its starting to dry out?
Well as I’m a complete novice I certainly won’t be trusting myself on this yet but will take the specimen along to my next training day for professional opinions but I’m still excited to think I may have got this one.
So from Finnish Inspiration I am going to try and blog my mushroom journey from now on..
Thank you Lovely Finland.