Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mushrooms for the Memories

It didn't rain enough on the farm to get a good mushroom 'crop' very often, but you can be sure that when we did, we didn't waste the opportunity.
Of course the mushrooms didn't all grow in the one spot and we drove around different paddocks, looking in all the likely places. We'd pick so many that we couldn't possibly eat them all ourselves and I remember one season offering some to the local minister.
The only type of fungus that seemed to grow in the district was the common mushroom - the type that we gorged - and the toadstool, which one could never mistake.

It is disappointing now to see them growing on the side of the track home and watching them quickly turn black and inedible. Do the same people who ignore this bounty from nature, turn around and pay a premium at their local greengrocer for this 'meat for vegetarians'? It seems passing strange as they are quite delicious eaten straight from the ground when they first sprout.

I thought that maybe people were just unobservant but then I noticed some at the back of University where I work, growing right near the benches where we eat our lunch. By the time I spotted this clump, they had already gone off. What a shame.


At 9:06 am , Blogger Steiny said...

My best friend, who is an attorney, never tires of reminding me how many mycologists with more than 30 years experience die each year as the result of misidentification....the window frame of my house is rotting and I'm pretty sure it's psilocybin growing there (pinches blue)

At 8:55 am , Blogger Berko Wills said...

Thanks for your comment, Steiny. You're right. Probably the mycologists get too cocky. I read a book on mushrooms as I was interested in identifying psilocybin, but it was too complicated for me, with so many fungi looking similar (of course, being colour blind doesn't help!)

I've gobbled a couple of what appeared to be magic mushrooms with no ill effect but glad I didn't tackle that giant one with the brown cap and white gills. Have a feeling I wouldn't have survived.

And the only time I've eaten slippery jacks is when my housemate chef picked some for dinner. But plain old mushrooms: white caps, pink gills. No chance of confusing them.


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