This October a huge number of meadow mushrooms, agaricus campestris, have sprung up in the church lawn. They are delicious raw or fried in butter. After a rain they did look as if they were flecked with drops of blood— I hesitate to mention it, but they were delicious raw anyway. And the older black-gilled ones are fine to eat, raw or cooked. I made soup very successfully. They weren’t collecting worms or bugs, which made them good for soup. I combined cut-up mushrooms with milk, onion flakes, MSG, salt, and pepper (too much pepper, as it turned out). I was able to dilute it heavily with more milk and it still remained flavorful. It didn’t turn black— more a sort of oyster stew color. I think butter would have helped.
Mycorrhizal: living in symbiosis with trees (of mushrooms)
This is a word I should know. Amanitas are mycorrhizal. At the St. Charles cross-country meet today Benjamin and I found lots of amanita muscaria guessowii. They are a fly agaric, supposedly useful for poisoning flies when ground up in milk. This is a yellow variety though, not red. We might try it for our ant problem. We will not attempt any disgusting Siberian pagan rites, however.
The whole family went on an ideal walk in Latimer Woods this afternoon. We found lots of pear-shaped puffballs at the edible, white, stage, and several black shaggy manes that we took home and cooked in butter. The flavor was not ideal—it was actually sweet. Perhaps it would have been better to cook them in milk and butter as a soup or for on toast. The puffballs were okay, but I have not found a good way to cook them.
I did find a good 2008 blog article, “Wild Mushrooms of Mid-fall – Wine Caps, Shaggy Manes and More.”
“Top Ten Mistakes in Mushroom Photography” is an interesting long webpage. It has lots of photos, with the species identified, illustrating various mistakes. The photo tips are useful even if it is not mushrooms you are photographing.
I found a good, short, You-Tube video of a broken bolete turning blue.
Browsing the web, it looks to me as if boletes are pretty safe. None are deadly poisonous. Some cause severe stomach-ache, but it looks as if you’re safe if you avoid bad-tasting, blue-staining, or orange or red boletes.
Lillie and Faith and Benjamin and I went jogging (Ben on his bicycle) and brought home a white lawn mushroom with red-black gills. It seems to be an Agaricus Campestris, prettily named, a Meadow Mushroom. It had a brown spore print, free gills, and soaked up water readily. We looked at the spores under the microscope, and they did look like the spores above, though I don’t remember seeing the green interiors under our smaller 900x magnification. That photo is from an amateur’s good webpage at http://www.mushroom-collecting.com/mushroomhorse.html.
We had a coprinus for breakfast this morning— two actually, probably shaggy manes, though I didn’t check. Amelia and Mom collected them from near the church. They didn’t liquefy overnight.
On Sunday we finally stopped to look at the coprinus mushrooms that we’ve seen growing at the intersection of Route 45 and the road to church. I jumped out and picked some. They are shaggy mane mushrooms, which apparently do not poison you if you drink alcohol, though they are closely related to those inky caps
Today we at some of them. They had all opened up, and some had deliquesced completely. Fried in oil (after being cut up, each into 3 or so pieces) they were okay. Amelia, Ben, and Lillie tried them with me. Faith said “Like it!” which means “I don’t like it!” The black ones are a bit bitter and too tasty. I think the books are correct that they are best while still white. They turn pink before turning to ink.
November 14. More had come up by now. Benjamin and I picked the young ones, and I made soup with them chopped up with milk, pepper, salt, butter, milk, and dried onion flakes. They are better in soup than fried. The soup was an interesting gray-black color.