Who could resist an early-morning walk in British countryside, gathering tasty food? Well, I can resist it. Like many British people I’m afraid of wild mushrooms because some of them can make you very ill. Phil Daoust at the Guardian says that we should go ahead and pick wild mushrooms. But as he says, it can go horribly wrong. So no fungi foraging for me.
Instead of going wild, I like to eat the cultivated mushroom (Agaricus bisporus). A. bisporus is farmed as its versatile white variety and as a more flavoursome brown variety, the chestnut mushroom. In fact there are many good kinds of cultivated mushrooms, including the oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) and the shiitake mushroom (Lentinus edodes). We can even grow our own.
The UK mushroom industry has shrunk in recent years with more imports coming in. Here’s some science about pests on cultivated mushrooms. As a school leaver in the mid 1980s, I was proud to work at one of the institutes whose scientists wrote that report, although I don’t know these particular people.
When I blog about crops, wild foods, livestock or game, my foodie tendency comes out. Cultivated mushrooms are readily available all through the year. So here are some mushroom recipes.