Thursday, August 28, 2014

A bumper year for field mushrooms

Word got out early in August, that we were in the midst of a bumper season for field mushrooms, Agaricus campestris. And by the time I got to the meadow on the side of the valley below us, it was evidently in full swing.

The white caps of the freshly emerged  mushrooms were everywhere. Alongside the path at the bottom of the field they were conveniently plentiful.

I ventured out half-a-dozen times over the course of three weeks. I gathered as much as 2lbs (900g) of  mushrooms in one picking at their peak and probably 8lbs (3.5kg) over all. By the time the fourth week of August began, the season was drawing to a close.

The best time to collect them is in the morning. They are freshest then and less likely to be attacked by flies. Also, the cows in the field, having been sleeping during the night, have had less time to trample them.

One thing to bear in mind is that the wild field mushrooms are quick to deteriorate once picked. I try to use them up that day, which meant repeatedly breakfasting on Agaricus campestris-on-toast. You can have too much of a good thing.

I also made a pretty good mushroom and tarragon spread. Click here for the wild mushroom and tarragon pate recipe.

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