How to Gather and Use Wild Mushrooms
Wild mushrooms, a delicacy to eat, are easy to gather and simple to cook following easy recipes.
Wild mushrooms appear in spring and autumn, thrive in forests and love rain. They have lovely names – chanterelles, penny bun, horn-of-plenty, fairy ring to name just a few. Gathering wild mushrooms is a hobby only for persons who can tell the difference between edible and poisonous ones. Some wild mushrooms can make you sick and even kill you, so bring your mushroom handbook to identify edible ones. Be sure that the mushrooms you gather are fresh and bug-free. You can eat wild mushrooms in many different ways, but never raw. Use them in soups, risottos and sauces. I like them best sautéed in a little butter and accompanied by scrambled egg.
How to Gather Wild Mushrooms
Use a mushroom knife and cut them off close to the ground, but never uproot them. Lots of earth will cling to the base. Wipe it off with the brush end of your mushroom knife. Take only big ones and leave the smaller ones behind because they do not have much taste. They leave their spores and produce next year's crop.
How to Store Wild Mushrooms
Mushrooms need lots of fresh air around them. Never use plastic bags or containers to store them because the moisture and the weight will crush and bruise the mushrooms. Gather your harvest into a wicker basket which allows a good circulation of air.
Edible Mushroom Guide
Bring your mushroom handbook because it is much easier to determine whether they are edible when they are still in the ground. Only gather the ones you have unmistakenly identified. Apricot-coloured chanterelles are easy to spot. They resemble small trumpets. Penny buns, Steinpilz in German, porcino in Italian, cep in French or Boletus edulis – the scientific name - can become quite large, 7 – 30 cm (3 – 12 inch).
Wild Mushroom Recipes
Mushrooms are low in fat and high in protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre. In other words they are excellent health food.
* 1/4 pounds fresh chanterelles
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
1. Halve chanterelles lengthwise or leave them whole if they are small
2. Melt the butter over moderately high heat until foam subsides.
3. Sauté the mushrooms while stirring for about three minutes
4. Add salt to taste
5. Add the wine and cook until liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are tender
I love to eat this with scrambled eggs and toast.
Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup
* 1 finely chopped onion
* 100 ml olive oil
* 2 grated garlic cloves
* 1 bunch finely chopped parsley
* 1kg thinly sliced wild mushrooms
* 100 ml dry white wine
* 1 litre hot vegetable stock
* salt and black pepper
1. Fry the chopped onion until golden and translucent
2. Add salt and pepper to taste
3. Add the finely chopped parsley and the grated garlic
4. Cook for a few minutes
5. Add the wild mushrooms
6. Cover the pot and simmer for about 5 minutes
7. Add wine and cook for about 10 minutes
8. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil
9. Allow the soup to cool a little, then blend to a smooth puree