They’ve been felling trees all summer in the forest across from our house. It has dramatically changed our vista, which at first saddened me …but it was bound to happen. Most of the forests that surround us are coniferous and are planted for timber or for firewood. Once cut down, they leave the tree stumps in the ground and unfortunately use a lot of chemicals to take them out. It takes them a quite a while to clear the land. They leave the tree stumps for months and it always amazes me how soon nature takes over. Very soon you see ferns, brambles and small trees emerging, having finally glimpsed enough sunlight to prosper.
On a walk this weekend we passed through one of these patches of cleared forest where we saw lots and lots of mushrooms growing on the tree stumps. I took photos and back home we consulted three different foraging mushroom foraging books to identify the species. We finally settled on Honey Fungus.
Honey fungus, also called Gardeners Nightmare, grows from black cords that travel large distances underground to find trees. It kills trees and shrubs but when cooked the caps are edible.
Where to find Honey Fungus
You can find Honey fungus in old woodland, especially near oak and beech. The season for the caps is from July to November. They grow in large clusters on both living and dead trees and tree stumps. They have a strong, sweet mushroomy smell.
Make sure you use the young caps for eating. Blanch them first in lightly salted boiling water and throw away the water afterwards.
We stir fried them in a little butter with garlic and onions and added cream and thyme to make a lovely mushroom cream sauce to go with pasta. It tasted really good.
Warning: when you go out foraging for mushrooms be sure to consult experts, charts, books and common sense before you pick and let alone eat anything. Lots of mushrooms look alike and some are deadly poisonous. If you’re not sure, don’t pick!!
Have you ever been foraging for edible mushrooms?