The Mushroom Table - Masthead

Wild Mushrooms

previous pageDescription and Uses

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Some common edibles:

Beefsteak Mushroom

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A thick, dark red, bracket mushroom commonly found on ancient oak trees and chestnut coppice stumps (the wood which this mushroom grows in is prized by furniture makers as it has a dark red colour). The fresh mushroom resembles a piece of raw beef. It has a soft succulent texture when cooked and a rich, mildly acid flavour (vitamin C rich). Cooked with other mushrooms it will give a distinctly "wild-mushroom-flavour". It is best sliced thinly before cooking. Beefsteak is delicious with beef in a stew, with game, or on its own with a dash of cream and wine.
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Hen of the Woods

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A large fungus formed of lots of small brown brackets radiating from a central stem. This gives it the appearance of a brown hen with itÕs feathers fluffed up. Hen of the woods has a very succulent, meaty texture and a rich spicy mushroom flavour.
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Blewits

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These beautiful mushrooms appear at the beginning of winter. The cap is the colour of the fallen leaves through which the mushroom emerges. The stem and gills however are a flushed with bluish-violet colour which glows in the woodland gloom. Blewits have a delicious perfumed flavour. A traditional English recipe is to stew blewits in milk and plenty of fresh sage.
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Chicken of the Woods

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This mushroom is found in late summer and early autumn. It is a bright egg yolk yellow colour which seems to flow out of the trees it grows on, forming into large lumps of orange lipped brackets as it matures. The texture, from which it gets itÕs name, is just like chicken breast. Use it like chicken breast - stir fry, casserole, what ever.
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Giant Puffball

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The most distinctive of all wild mushrooms. It looks just like a white ball and can vary from grapefruit sized upto a beach ball, although larger specimens are less spherical. Puffballs have a strong spicey flavour and a unique texture, soft and meaty, when cooked. They can be stuffed like a marrow, diced or cut into thick slices, dipped in egg and bread crumbs and then fried.
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Honey Fungus

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A common wild mushroom which can cause problems in the garden. it is much prized in Italy where it used to make antipasto or cooked with pasta. It has a succulent crispy texture. It is best blanched in boiling water for a few minutes before further cooking to remove any bitterness. It has a sweet, rich mushroom flavour when cooked.
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Parasol Mushroom

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There a several species of parasol but all have the same distinct form, a long thin stem with a bulbous base and a large cap opening out flat with a bump in the middle. The mushroom is creamy white. The cap can have either white shaggy scales or smooth brown scales radiating from the centre. Remove the stem and grill the cap topped with bacon or dip the cap in egg and bread crumbs and then fry.
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Russulas

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This is a large family of mushrooms which are distinguished by their crumbly texture. Most have white or cream stems and gills and brightly coloured caps, red, yellow, blue, green, purple. Russulas can be found throughout autumn. They have a fruity flavour, delicious cooked with bacon and cherry tomatoes and mixed into pasta.
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Saint George's Mushroom

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A meaty, large white or cream mushroom which appears in spring, ready to pick on 23rd April, St George's Day. It grows in rings in rough grassland and woodland margins. It has an agreeable mealy smell, like the field mushroom, and an excellent flavour.
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