INTO THE WOODS WITH WOOD

As a na­tion we’ve be­come a lit­tle scared of pick­ing mush­rooms, says for­ager James Wood. Look for golden chanterelle and you’ll be fine

Cheshire Life - - Food & Drink -

Mush­room hunters have been held at the start­ing blocks this year, ea­gerly wait­ing for rain. I was glad to see droplets fall from the sky and the mycelium (body of the mush­room) is start­ing to pro­duce a fan­tas­tic flush on fungi. As a coun­try we’ve all be­come scared of mush­rooms so I’m go­ing to keep it sim­ple with chanterelle mush­rooms.

Golden chanterelle (known as girolle to most chefs) - Can­tharel­lus cibar­ius - is of­ten found in dense golden clus­ters in all types of wood­land, grow­ing up to 10cm tall and 10cm across, but of­ten found smaller, they’re called gold of the woods. The cap, golden yel­low in colour, starts growth be­gin­ning rounded (1-2cm), later flat­ten­ing out with a wavy edge and if left to con­tinue grow­ing starts to fun­nel (up to 10cm). There aren’t of­fi­cial gills on this mush­room, how­ever there’s gill like ridges run­ning down the stem, that re­sem­ble the crum­pling and fold­ing you see on dried raisin skins. They smell like apri­cots. The one mush­room you need to be wary of when look­ing for the golden chanterelle is some­thing called the false chanterelle (Hy­grophorop­sis au­ran­ti­aca). This is dark orange, has a spongey top, true forked gills and is bright orange in the cen­tre, all of which make it dif­fer­ent from golden chanterelle.

James Wood is a renowned ex­per­i­men­tal wild food for­ager run­ning wild food cook­ery and for­ag­ing cour­ses through­out Cheshire. His book ‘The For­agers’ Cook­book’ is now avail­able through the web­site: www.to­tal­ly­wilduk.co.uk @to­tal­ly­wilduk

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