Surprise winter mushrooms!!!

We had fabulous fungi find today whilst making the most of the first dry day in what seems like weeks.  We really just wanted to feel the sun on our necks and the wind in our hair but we had a bonus and found something for dinner too!!!

The frosts of even a mild winter like this one stop almost all edible fungi fruiting, but there are a couple of species that can last all winter long.  The Velvet shank mushroom (Flammulina velutipes) can survive being frozen solid and is still edible after the hardest freeze. I have cooked these in the past having chiseled them from snow covered logs in the depths of winter and they tasted great even then.

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We found a whole log full of these today, they like decaying deciduous wood, particularly Elm, but these were on what looked like a fallen Poplar branch. The caps are between 2cm and 10cm and are smooth and slimy, the tough stem is yellow at the top, turning brown and velvety below. The spore print is white.

As always do not eat any fungi that you cannot identify 100%.

I am still feeling a little lazy after the holiday period and I don’t think these little beauties are going to get any fancy treatment, but we are looking forward to Velvet shank  Pizza al funghi for dinner.   YUM…….

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