Thursday 27 October 2016

Day 2 Mushroom Picking Gets Riskier

If pickings hadn't been so slim I doubt we would have been so bold. 

After finding 11 edible rovellons in 10 minutes on Day 1, we were expecting similar success on Day 2. Our initial excitement at finding mushrooms as big as our palms faded as we read on fungipedia that though edible, they were of low quality. 

Mushrooms as big as our palms!
Determined to find something we could eat for our lunch, we stopped at each unfamiliar mushroom and spent what seemed an age trying to ascertain whether they were toxic or not. My favourite part of foraging is scrambling through the forest and the stopping and starting was a little tedious. The pictures we found online varied so much and we couldn't be entirely sure the mushrooms in front of us were the same as in the online archives. It's a risky call to make. Often an edible mushroom will have a copy cat mushroom which is toxic.

After umming and aahing for the time it takes a mushroom to grow, we picked two samples of a mushroom that is endearingly nicknamed 'Pixaca', or in English, 'dog piss'. No joke. It must be to do with its colour and lack of popularity. They are brown capped, with yellow spongy gills and a spotty yellow and brown stalk.

Hello there. Are you the one they call Dog Piss?
I also picked up a little grey and white specimen, which I was almost certain was a 'fredolic', a mushroom I used to collect with my Dad. I didn't feel over confident but planned to Google enthusiastically before I cooked it. We also picked up a few white puffballs and, finally, we revisited out patch from the first day and found five rovellons.

Foe or friendly fredolic?
It wasn't much for a lunch, so we saved them and cooked them for dinner. I was a little bit worried about the yellow dog piss ones, and my husband didn't fancy tasting my I'm-80%-sure-it's-a-fredolic. After I'd gobbled it down, he showed me a list of the five mushrooms that could actually kill a human. I could have killed him when the first picture popped and it looked exactly like the mushroom I'd just eaten.

"It's not the same," he insisted nervously. "The one in the picture has a ring, see?"

The murderous mushroom looked less like my one in the second photograph. But still. It was scary. Next I tried the puff ball. It was creamy inside, like a Lindt chocolate ball, except Lindt chocolate balls are much better because they don't taste of moss and soil.

The deadly mushroom would have an affect between 20 minutes and 4 hours after
consumption. I went to bed two hours after eating it and with my stomach intact. My skin felt itchy, but then that was probably from all the scratches from scampering through the forest.

I was relieved when I woke up the next morning still alive. I've decided I don't think one should be too hasty when sampling wild mushrooms. So many look so alike and I think it would be safer to learn from an expert. I've actually been searching for a mycology course but without much luck.  

In other foraging news, my husband also picked up a berry like fruit on our excursion. He appeared with it later that day and asked me to eat it without looking it up online. I thought it was a real test of my faith in him that I did it. Luckily It was delicious. Turns out it's called a madroño fruit (Arbutus) and can be used in jams and sauces. Husband now says he is more excited about this fruit than mushrooms.

(Erm, I don't know if this blog is turning into The Good Life. I'm just going with the flow at the moment.) 


lizsnell said...

Arbutus known as the Strawberry tree,now there's a surprise! It attracts Two Tailed Pashas a fabulous African butterfly which is common in southern Spain.

Emily Benet said...

I just looked that butterfly up! That's beautiful. I'll have to keep my eye out. There were quite a few Arbutus trees so perhaps the two tailed pasha isn't that uncommon here. I'm learning something new every day! Thanks Liz :)