The weather has been quite wet for the past month, but with a few warm, still days. The warmth seems to have brought on a last, end of season, flush of mushrooms. Usually the mushroom season here is from late summer through autumn into the beginning of winter, but this is a very late-blooming of fungal trove.
We have 10 potters here with us to pack and fire the wood fired kiln. Rochelle, one of our guests, decides to take a walk among the pines and comes back to ask for a knife to cut some mushrooms that she has found. Half the team suddenly take off. Janine tells them that she not only has a dedicated mushroom knife, but also a mushroom collecting basket. They’re all off and gone, returning half an hour later with the basket half full of fungi.
Around here we get edible mushrooms growing on the pine tree roots. We have saffron milk caps and slippery jacks. There are lots of other fungi growing here, but these are the only ones that we know are edible and safe.
The fun-guys set to work cleaning and peeling the fungi. We cook up a couple of dishes for lunch. The saffron milk caps with olive oil and garlic. Then the peeled slippery Jacks tossed in butter with white wine and blue cheese. They are both pretty amazing dishes and couldn’t be fresher or more delicious.
Mushrooms are best cut from the stipe or stem, so as not to damage the rest of the ectomycorrhizal underground structure of the fungus. The less damage done, the better chance of a good crop next season – or so I’m told. Better safe than sorry. So much better to tread softly on the earth where ever possible, it costs us nothing and can reap great rewards.
This is self-reliance.