Top 10 All-Time Tastiest Wild Foods
10. Shaggy Inkcap
The Shaggy Inkcap, also quite wonderfully known as the Lawyer's Wig, has to be one of my most favourite edible mushrooms. Inkcaps have a unique way of releasing their spores and do so by dissolving and turning into a gloopy mess of ink! For this reason, Shaggy Inkcaps are quite recognisable and easy to ID. They are also wonderfully tactile, having very soft, delicate scales; a fragrant mushroomy smell; and a wonderful flavour.
9. Wild Raspberry
The Wild Raspberry is super-common throughout the UK and can be found in open woodland, along woodland trails, and even on roadsides verges. The fruits are often smaller and less 'plump' than garden varieties, but they are still delicious, and very versatile in the kitchen, being used to make syrups, sauces, desserts, pies, fruit salads, smoothies, or just eaten as a they are.
8. Hen of the Woods
Hen of the Woods, or Maitake, is an edible polypore mushroom that is mostly found in association with oak trees in late Summer or early Autumn. It is a perennial fungus that often grows in the same place for a number of years in succession. This mushroom has a long culinary history and is extremely popular in Japan and other East Asian countries. It has a lovely mushroom aroma and a firm texture similar to chicken when cooked. With a mild mushroom flavour, it has a huge range of uses in the kitchen.
7. The Morel
The Morel is perhaps one of the most sought-after mushrooms in the world. It is sold in continental markets and used extensively in fine cuisine in restaurants around the world. A very distinctive mushroom, it spreads it's spores by firing them forcefully from it's pitted, ridged and honeycombed cap. There are generally only three types of Morel to search for in the UK - the Common Morel, Morchella Vulgaris, the Yellow Morel, Morchella esculenta, and the Black Morel, Morchella importuna, which grows almost exclusively in urban areas in wood chip.
Bilberries, sometimes known as European or Swedish Blueberries, Whortleberry, or Blaeberry in Scotland, is a species of low-growing shrub that is native to Europe, bearing edible, dark blue berries in late summer. Bilberries were the first foraged item that Arthur was introduced to and are one of his favourite berries. We use them in lots of recipes, from crumbles and fools, to pies and pastries, and add them to porridge, smoothies, fruit salads, yogurts, and ice cream. We also use them to make syrup or cordial.
5. Wood Hedgehogs
The Wood Hedgehog has to be one of the best, most delicious edible mushrooms out there. Arthur loves them and always looks forward to the onset of Autumn so we can go out and gather them. Perfect for beginners, this pale, chunky and flavoursome mushroom is so easy to identify due to the tiny spines on the underside of the cap, which give it it's common name. There are no other pale, firm, chunky mushrooms with spines instead of gills, so it's very difficult indeed to confuse it with anything else.
4. Wild Leek
Few-Flowered and Three-Cornered Leek are invasive wild onions that have been introduced to the UK from overseas. These plants are in the Allium Genus of plants, and so are related to onions, garlic and leeks and share a resemblance in flavour to both spring onion and garlic. Despite being invasive, they are also extremely delicious, and have a huge number of culinary uses. When combined with other wild greens, such as Wild Garlic and Garlic-Mustard, the collective flavour they impart is just wonderful.
3. Wild Garlic
Wild Garlic, also known as Ramsons, is a bulbous perennial flowering plant - a wild relative of the onion. It grows in moist woodland during the Spring months, and is very easily identified by it's strong smell of garlic. The leaves, when washed and chopped, have the most amazing flavour, and can be added to almost anything, or used where you'd usually add garlic! Wild Garlic flowers are also edible, with the buds being made into an especially delicious sweet pickle.
The Golden Chanterelle, also called the Girole or Pfiferling, is an extremely tasty mushroom that is found in both coniferous and deciduous woodlands. They taste sweet and peppery and are great in a range of recipes such as soups, stews and omelettes, or cooked on their own on toast. These are Arthur's favourite mushroom (and mine!), and are simply delicious. If you come across some, be sure to add them to your foraging basket!
1. Penny Bun
Boletus Edulis, also known as the Penny Bun, Porcini or Cep, needs very little introduction, as it is, without a doubt, one of the tastiest mushrooms you'll ever find, and a king of the edible mushroom world. It is found mostly in deciduous woodland, often in association with Beech, Oak or Pine. Although this mushroom is quite common, there is often only a small window of opportunity to find them due to a short fruiting season. This makes them quite elusive, if you don't know when and where to look!