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Foraging 2021

Food for free.

Contains 857 photos, the last of which were added 1 year, 3 days, 16 hours, 58 minutes, and 36 seconds ago.

H and R separately spotted mushrooms growing out of a tree in Ravenscraig Park. They're dryads saddle - delicious. The next day, a trip through the woods near Wemyss yielded a lot more of them, but we wait a bit to see how they grow.

My sister spotted a large and interesting bracket fungus in Ravenscraig Park, and I soon learned this is Dryad's Saddle, aka Pheasantsback. It's edible so long as it's soft. R and I went questing to our nearby woods, and found loads more! Some of it was small, so we left it to grow a bit. But went home with absolutely tons.

The taste is bland but the texture is excellent and it takes up whatever you cook it with, so it's fab for marinading, even just in soy sauce, or putting in a stew. It smells mildly of cucumber. If you leave it out, or even in the fridge for too long after picking, it'll fill up with worms, so it's best to process and cook it as soon as possible.

Back to the woods to see how the dryad's saddle are doing. They grew! We harvested a shit ton. We've taken to referring to the trees which have an abundance as "dryad's fountains".

We also found a cluster of nice oysters on a precarious log, and some jelly ear mushrooms too. Plus, lots that I don't know and are probably not edible.

On a late night wander through Ravenscraig Park, we found chicken of the woods! I spotted it! I knew it was important even though I'd never seen it before. A lower down bigger one was a bit old, but we harvested it. A higher up smaller one that was young so we left it to grow.

We proceeded to a small woodland in the middle of Kirkcaldy, and found some oyster mushrooms! We filled up a box, and well pleased with ourselves, thought that although it was getting late, we should probably do a quick scout of the rest of the surrounding area to see what else was about.

Then we had a mushroom emergency.

Multiple logs, absolutely bursting with beautiful oyster mushrooms, in perfect condition for harvesting.

But we were at capacity! It was getting dark! What to do?!

I phoned for backup.

K gracefully interrupted here evening to come and rescue us with a car and several large boxes. What a night! We picked as many as we could, and were up late cleaning them.

Two days later we returned to pick what we'd left because it was too young, or we just couldn't fit it. And got another massive load.

Processing oysters is a lot of work, and they really really need to be sorted quickly or they fill up with worms like the dryad's saddle. But worse. So we bottled litres and litres of three kinds of mushroom soup, stock, and cooked batches more to turn into pie filling and freeze. Plus, we ate loads of them too.

Back to the Dryad's' Fountain for another go at the ones that have grown. Also found more fountains. Some were pretty high, but with the ingenious invention of a knife tied to a stick with a dogpoo bag, we managed to get some. The ones I couldn't catch (most of them) crashed to the ground in a mushroom apocalypse.

We also packed the dryer with oyster mushrooms.

Back to the oyster woods for another evening of harvesting an unseemly quantity of oyster mushrooms. Stayed up late again processing them. Again.

Back again to the oyster woods. This is getting out of hand. Bottled loads to preserve for stock and cooking with in future. Filled the dryer over again.

Also went to check on the chicken of the woods in Ravenscraig, doesn't seem to be growing.

Some of the oyster mushrooms are just breathtakingly beautiful little things. Makes you just want to pickle 'em. (We did.) Also got more dryad's saddle!

A bus trip for a foray in some woods near Aberdour. The chanterelles are up, but we're a bit early and only got a handful. Also found an aging chicken of the woods! Saw my first stinkhorn, and plenty of others that I don't know (yet).

Back to Aberdour woods for more chanterelles, but they hadn't grown much. We think not enough rain. Also found interesting boletes and other things.

Boletes in the Cairngorms and in Perth. Started learning some specifics - slippery jack, larch bolete, orange/brown birch, scarletina, lurid...

This week's mushroom of the week is russulas! It's a 50-50 chance whether they're tasty or bitter. To find out, nibble the edge and wait a minute or two to see if it goes hot and peppery on your tongue. The good ones don't. Spit it out either way - don't swallow raw wild mushrooms. If you get a good one, it's worse than a 50-50 chance if it's already been eaten to distruction by something else - slugs, deer, flies, everything loves them. But if you get a good one - they're delicious! Full of deep flavours. Fry them up on toast with minimal seasoning. And they come in all kinds of lovely colours. We got a great boxfull from the edge of the oyster woods.

And more oysters, of course.

A very successful afternoon of mushroom foraging around Kirkcaldy-adjacent woodlands, and Aberdour. Featuring:

Wandering the fields near my sister's place in the Lake District, and picking up mushrooms on the way. Mostly not edible, apart a couple of field mushrooms, but fun to try to ID them all, familiarising myself with the book. Also borrowed a sundew to take home.

Walking in the woods near my Mum's place near Alton, and picking up mushrooms...

Loads of earthballs (not pictured) and lots of amanitas; definite blushers, and pretty sure not death caps, but some other kinds. Very old boletes, scattered russulas, stinkhorns, and some big 'uns in a field that I'm not sure about.

An epic Fife fungal foray. The very local oysters are still flushing, plus some puffballs coming up nearby. A few good scarletina and yellow/red cracked boletes. A milk cap, probably not a good one, but haven't learnt much about those yet.

Went to check on a baby chicken of the woods to see if it had grown, and alas, something had eaten it.. but then.. out of the corner of my eye.. down a muddy slope and through several feet of ferns something was glowing orange.. my conscious brain said "almost certainly some trash" but my subconscious brain knew... I slid down the bank.. and sure enough.. a chicken of the woods as big as my torso. What a feast!

Plus, blackberries on my doorstep.

Hen of the woods in the middle of Kirkcaldy town. And misc.

A jaunt into local oak woods to look for more chicken of the woods after last week's exciting discovery, and was not disappointed. Lots of small ones, mostly the right age. And some very high up a tree! Alas. Lots of beefsteak fungus too, but didn't harvest any because though it's pretty I wasn't impressed with the taste and texture of the last one I tried. Got a ton of hen of the woods though, a new one for me.

I walked all the way into town for one specific thing, which I did not achieve. But in some random grass near the train station I found a bunch of good russulas, and loads of field mushrooms. So, not a completely wasted journey.

Misc from passing through Ravenscraig Park. Bag of hen of the woods from Kirkcaldy town center!

Evening foray to woods near Aberdour. The goal was ceps, but we were a bit late. Found a couple in decent condition (but I'm not totally convinced they're not Bay boletes - the pores are yellow, but the stems are so cep! Good either way.) and some giant ones that were way past it. A couple of new chanterelle spots and enough of those for a couple of meals. Lots of yellow/red cracked boletes, some very pretty brown and orange birch boletes. The chonky scarletinas are from before we'd even made it to the train station in Kirkcaldy (actually missed the intended train to stop and pick these). A selection of yellow and purple russulas in surprisingly good nick.

Also my first amethyst deceiver and porcelain fungus.

A couple of unknown souvenirs to take home and ID.

A visit to the woods on my doorstep. We were hoping for more chicken of the woods, but it seems like it's beefsteak fungus season! This deeply disturbing bracket fungus which bleeds and wobbles like raw meat is found mostly on oak trees, anywhere from by the ground to way up high.

We levelled up on this foray though - mushrooms up to 11 feet high are no longer safe from us due to my unexpected new skill of precariously and hilariously balancing on R's shoulders.

Also a great haul of puffballs. And a few late hen of the woods.

Got offered some big jars on Freegle, but they were in Dundee. So made a day of it, and went to various new woodlands on the way for foraging.

Got a good haul of chanterelles (from very close to home actually), plus a few boletes, a ton of amethyst deceivers (or are they?? yes they are.. some doubt for a while because the caps were super pale, but they do that as they age and/or dry out - rehydrated them to get the glorious purple back to convince myself), and several new mushrooms to bring home to ID. Also found my first wood blewit, but unfortunately the slugs had found it first and all that was left was the - admittedly very distinctive - stem.

An afternoon in the community orchards at Buckhaven for apples, pears, and plums. Also spied some aging parasol mushrooms. And stopped in the ice cream shop at East Wemyss on the way home.

A day trip to areas around the border of Fife and Tayside, with some foraging stops. Found enormous pestle puffballs, and a few new things to ID.

Also pictured: agricus and dryads from closer to home, earlier in the week.

A chanterelle emergency in woods not far from home (location classified). Filled up bags and boxes we had and had to leave a whole patch for lack of space and light. Also picked up a few to ID, and a good amount of hedgehog fungus. And what is probably an agricus, but it was growing under a tree, so further investigation required.

Foraging on my doorstep last week. Puffballs in Ravenscraig Park. A new flush of dryads saddle on the first tree I saw fruit in June! Don't they know their season finished a month ago?? A relative of the hedgehog fungus. Agricus, the ones that didn't have sneaky little beak marks in. Several unknowns.

Also pictured: Max helps with mushroom ID.

An absolute chanterelle emergency in the woods by Loch Ness. I picked a bagful but we were supposed to be hiking.. I've never seen anything like it, there were so many. Also found hedgehog fungus, a few boletes (but most were one to two weeks too old), shaggy inkcaps, my first woolly milkcaps, a handful of puffballs, and a few to be IDed.

On the lookout for wood blewit and trooping funnels between Kirkcaldy and Wemyss. Not much luck (a couple of wood blewits) but did find some late chanterelles, a cloudy funnel (too old to eat), butter caps, and some very pretty brackets.

Discovered wood blewit and honey fungus spots in Ravenscraig Park. Picked up some veiled oysters too! (I think that's what they are.. they have super hefty stems and a really good taste.) Surveyed the edge of Dunnikier Park, and fields on the way to Thornton. Some good spots to go back to at the right time, next year.

A fungal foray around woods in Kirkcaldy, and Dunnikier Park. Found big flushes of wood blewits that were too old, and small flushes that were in good enough condition to harvest. Lots of cloudy funnels that were well past it as well. In Dysart cemetery, picked up some agricus that bruised red and were smaller than Prince; no definitive ID but definitely safe so ate them (they were good); and two parasols (my first!) which we decided were shaggy parasol because they're smaller, and shaggy.

Also found:

Winter foraging in the local oak woods. Over half a kilo of oysters collected, and a couple of kilos more to come back for with climbing gear...

Max foraged a ball from the pond.

13.5kg of oyster mushrooms, over 8 feet up a tree. Mushroom season is over when I say it's over.