Harvesting wild mushrooms

Harvesting mushrooms from woodlands can provide a tasty and nutritious meal but you need to know what your are collecting because they can also be deadly poisonous. Our advice is to either go on a course or along with somebody who knows what they are doing and has plenty of experience.

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Melanoleuca melaleuca

One such mushroom you can pick and eat are Melanoleuca melaleuca. They can be found in pastures and woodlands of all types and can vary in colour but are mainly a dark chocolate brown on the cap with white gills and a tall white stem. You can find them around Autumn time are good eating.

One thing to look out for though are maggots and mites. Pick the smaller younger ones to avoid this problem.

Shaggy Ink Cap

Another good one for eating is the Coprinus comatus or Shaggy Ink Cap. It's a very distinctive fungus and is unlikely to be mistaken with any other. The cap is more a cylindrical shape, white with a creamy centre and covered with a shaggy white and pale brown scales. The stem is white and sometimes slightly pink. When this mushroom goes over it drips a black inky substance hence the name, so collect them when they are nice and young. They can be found between spring and autumn amoung grass, compost heaps, rubbish dumps, and open fields and gardens.

They are also one of the best tasting you can find in the UK.

Polyporus squamosus (Dryad's Saddle)

This is one of the most impressive looking toadstools in the UK. It is most commonly found on the trunks of ash and elm trees between spring and autumn. And is easily recongnised from others by it's ochre colour on top with dark brown scales and a white fleshy colour underneath.

This one is also edible when it is young and although the flesh is fibrous and fairly soft it is also more or less tasteless. But if you were short of food it would make a good meal. Maybe a few local herbs would do the trick!

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