While all the recent rain has brought its fair share of disasters around New Zealand, it does have a very small upside – we now have mushrooms popping up everywhere.
Most importantly, which ones can we eat and which ones can’t we?
It should be noted that, in urban and woodland habitats, deadly mushrooms are far more common than psychoactive species. Deadly species can also be found in pastures, and the highly toxic Chlorophyllum molybdites is especially common there.
To the untrained eye, many poisonous mushrooms resemble psychoactive or culinary species. Every wild mushroom should be considered deadly poisonous until proven otherwise.
So the short answer is: Do your research before eating those fungi in the backyard. I found this website quite handy for identifying different types: fungalguide.landcareresearch.co.nz. And of course there are many helpful books on the subject.
Some of New Zealand’s iconic species include Wood Ear mushooms, Vegetable Caterpillars and Sky Blue Mushrooms.
Once we have these wonderful fungi here are some ideas for using them.
Peel your mushrooms, place fin side up onto a roasting tray and drizzle with oil, fresh rosemary sticks and garlic and roast on 180 degrees celcius for 10 minutes. Remove rosemary and place into a pot with vegetable stock and seasoning. Cook for a further 10 minutes before blitzing. You can serve it like this or add a touch of mascarpone and truffle oil for something special
Treat the same as the mushrooms for the soup but instead of placing them into a pot with stock, just blitz them with with a 100 ml of olive oil and season. This give you a paste that you can place into a jar and hold.
Use the paste to finish a pasta dish, spread onto toast, stuff inside your boned and rolled leg of lamb etc.
Roast the mushrooms the same way as for the soup, but this time you are going to put them into a jar and pour a cold pickling liquid over the top.
2 cups cider vinger
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp seasalt
1 Tbsp mixed, pink peppercorns, coriander seeds and fennel seeds