Walkers will have already noticed mushrooms starting to appear in Mortimer’s Forest this year. The most prized ones are the boletes: the Penny Bun, the Red Cracked Bolete, the Dotted Stem Bolete and the Larch Bolete. These are easy to identify and the most delicious to eat, the king of all mushrooms.
Best times to look are warm humid conditions just after a bit of rainfall, so that the mushrooms aren’t soggy but there is enough moisture to encourage growth. Look under trees, go off the beaten track and once you spot one you will usually spot more.
Also look out for the distinctive Shaggy Ink Cap and the Parasol mushrooms, tall and slim and easy to learn. Most striking of all and growing around the Blackpool car park in the forest is the Cauliflower mushroom, nestling at the base of pine trees.
A few rules:
Don’t pull the mushrooms up by the bulb but cut them at the base with a knife and only take what you will eat. Put them in a straw basket ideally (so the spores can spread as you walk around) or in a canvas bag: you want them to breathe.
Finally, only pick what you will eat. Many people pick lots of mushrooms, get home and when they look them up in huge identification books, they lose their nerve and throw the lot away.
A book published in Ludlow, Mushrooming Without Fear by Alexander Schwab, Merlin Unwin Books £20 is in Ludlow’s Castle Bookshop and is a fool-proof, step-by-step identification method which focusses ONLY on the two dozen mushrooms which are prolific and good to eat, and not on the thousands that aren’t. It is a safe method which avoids gills, the category in which the two deadly mushrooms lurk.
The tick-box ID method in Mushrooming Without Fear removes all risk – happy mushrooming!
Purchase your copy of Mushrooming without Fear through publishers Merlin Unwin. Price £20