Top 10 Wild Edible Mushrooms
10. Orange/Saffron Milk Cap
Orange (or False Saffron Milkcaps) are very similar in appearance to Saffron Milkcaps (Lactarius deliciosus) with both being found under conifers. They are both very tasty mushrooms, although Saffron Milkcaps are rarer, and considered to be the more tasty of the two! They are very popular in Spain, and pair well with tomato and peppers.
9. The Prince
The Prince is an edible member of the Agaric genus of mushrooms, and is a relative of the cultivated variety you find in shops and supermarkets. Commonly found in mixed woodland from late Summer through to late Autumn, particularly under conifers, this mushroom smells of bitter almonds and is utterly delicious.
8. 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.
7. Winter Chanterelle
The Winter Chanterelle, or Yellowlegs Mushroom, is a smaller relative of the Golden Chanterelle, and as such, has a reputation for being an extremely tasty culinary mushroom. The Winter Chanterelle has a great ability to withstand the cold, and can even survive the first frosts. This makes it a true winter mushroom that can be found thriving as late as November and even December. Underneath the cap is a bright yellow stem that often develops a deep vertical depression that gives it the appearance of a pair of yellow legs.
6. Cauliflower Fungus
One of our favourites, The Cauliflower, or Brain Fungus, is an unusual large edible mushroom with an irregular, dome-shaped, labyrinthine fruiting body. It varies in colour from light brown / buff, to yellow, grey or creamy white, and is quite delicious! One of the best things about this fungus is it's ability to regenerate - if you harvest not to close to it's stem, it will regenerate itself, provided fresh, edible new growth in a week or two. A mini-mushroom farm!
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. 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.
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.
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!