27th August 2020

Featured / Outdoors / Roger Phillips

Looking Forward to Mushroom Season by Roger Phillips

7 3.5 mins 0

FFrom Scotland to the Lake District, North Wales to the South of England, Rogers Phillips gives his expert advice on mushroom foraging across the country.

This autumn promises to be a fabulous mushroom season because there has been so much sun, warmth and rain – the perfect combination for making mushrooms grow. In the Lake District the season will be in full swing now, and in Scotland, too. Chanterelles will be plentiful, and you can find them in almost any sort of woodland, but among confers is probably the best bet.

In North Wales fungi will also be fruiting well. Boletus are one of the first things to appear, at the beginning of the season as we are now, and they should be bug-free, although later they are often half eaten by discerning slugs, which know a good thing when they find it!

In the South of England, the season will soon be getting going after all the rain of mid-August. Late August can be a very good hunting time, as all fungi like warmth, providing they have loads of rain too.

While you are out in the woods don’t forget to look at fallen trees, where there are very many good fungi to be found, such as Oyster mushroom, Pleurotus, which are common especially on fallen beech trees and very tasty when fresh; they are easily distinguished by the way the gills run down the lateral stems. Another excellent edible, Chicken of the Woods is easily recognised by its distinctive yellow colour and large size (it can grow as much as two feet across) and it can be found on many different tree species; I have found it on both oak and willow. Down at the base of old oak trees, Beefsteak fungus is very frequent too and a popular edible in France, where it is referred to as Langue du Boeuf, an apt name because it closely resembles ox tongue in both texture and colour. Dryad’s saddle is a speckled bracket fungus that is very good to eat when young, but if it has been growing for a week or two ignore it as it gets very tough.

There is always a name conflict over Chanterelles between Britain and France. In Britain, we call the lovely yellow ones, Chanterelles and the brown-capped ones with yellow legs Winter Chanterelles. In France, however, they call the yellow ones Girolles and the brown-capped, yellow legged ones Chanterelles. Whatever you call it, the key difference between the two is that with the brown-capped ones the gills are attached to the stem but do not run right down it. Both are delicious to eat. I adore them in omelettes!

Cantharellus cibarius In England we call these mushrooms Chanterelles, but in France they are called Girolles

Cantharellus tubeformis Winter Chanterelles for us in Britain, but in France, this is the real Chanterelle.

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Roger Phillips is a mushroom maestro and one of the most respected foragers in Great Britain. In 1975 he began his life’s major work, photographing an encyclopaedic collection of world plants and he has since written 20 additional volumes with combined sales of 4.5 million copies worldwide.

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