Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Quel Champignon !

Our garden is humid enough to provide a lovely home to all manner of fungi. Some of the mushrooms that appear in the yard are edible, although we've never felt comfortable enough with our mycological skills to actually consume any.

There's a fungus among us.

There are morels, we think, and another mushroom variety that's pretty large and white and that friends of ours actually harvested and ate (they survived). The first year we were in the house I cut those white ones down with the lawnmower, an act that brought tears to the eyes of one of our neighbors. But we still won't eat them.

There are also many rather nasty looking varieties of mushroom that pop up here and there around the garden.

When is a mushroom a toadstool? Go ask Alice.

This particular specimen appeared earlier this week beneath one of our fir trees. I decided to take its picture before I puréed it with the lawnmower. The closest match I can find in our Larousse mushroom guide is called Amanite rougissante (amanita rubescens). The guide says it's edible, but only well cooked.

We, however, won't be finding out.


  1. Mushrooms are scary. I would recommend a visit to the mushroom museum on the road between Chinon and Saumur. We were fascinated and learned that the very poisonous ones look just like the edible ones. Now, if we are even vaguely tempted to pick one, we leave well alone !

  2. Have you tried taking them to your local pharmacy? They're supposed to be able to tell you what's edible and what's not...

  3. I'm with Jean....SCARY. Nightmares. It looks sort of like that thing in the movie ET that came back to earth to get him.

  4. I always try them out on someone else. If they survive then I eat them!(smile)

  5. Yes, be very careful. Mitch has eaten some mushrooms he's gathered, but only after years of study and going to the Fungus Fair and talking to folks. I still shy away. Don't want to be on the emergency waiting list for a new liver!

    Morels are fabulous, though, and very easy to identify. Very rare around here... you usually have to go to the Sierra, and the season is very short.

  6. I'm with you Walt. We often have mushrooms/toadstools popping up round here, but there's no way Id risk it. Some of them look exactly like what we call field mushrooms here in Australia, but for all I know they could have the ability to cause a messy, painful death - and I don't like mushrooms thaat much!

  7. Gosh, morels. When we lived in the wilds of Ontario one of the few benefits was the abundance of morels that grew right outside our door. Ray, who never met a mushroom he liked, was surprisingly adept at spotting and picking them. Sauteed up with a little butter and salt -- heaven.


  8. ever since I saw Attack of the Mushroom People I am suspect of fungi.

  9. jean, I've never been to that museum, so onto the list it goes!

    ksam, we've never taken our 'shrooms to the pharmacy. I know they do that, but I'm still not brave enough. :)

    alewis, nah, that one doesn't bother me, but there are some that are all dark and gooey looking. Nasty...

    kendall, have you lost anybody yet? lol!

    ginny, I agree. I eat market mushrooms.

    sue, I do like them, but not enough to gather them myself. And there are plenty of mushroom growers/gatherers around here who know what they're doing, so I buy from them.

    susan, sounds yummy!

    urspo, I've never seen that one...

  10. Most people who know refuse to take food from me. Go figure! (shaking head)

  11. Take me to the mushroom museum!

  12. kendall, hmmmmmm...

    cheryl, that would require that you actually be here...


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