Monday, 11 October 2010

There's Not Mush Room inside ....

Today, I was soooo tempted to write a whole ranty post about the Parish Council sternly writing to me (as secretary of the Allotment Association) with the rather joyless phrase "the allotments are for the purpose of growing vegetables, they are not playgrounds for children" in response to a complaint from a grumpy nearby householder which was taken at face value and not given even the most cursory of investigations. But as you can see, I decided not to do that.

(Deep breath)

What I decided to do instead was write a post about parasol mushrooms and how astonishing they are.

Adam and I are very much novices on the mushroom gathering front which I guess puts us in the category of Enthusiastic Amateurs Most Likely to Poison Themselves but we're slowly building our repertoire.

Driving past Brewer's Green the other day we spotted mushrooms so huge they were instantly visible from the road so we screeched to a halt and got out of the car to investigate. They were about a foot high and the top was easily the size of a large dinner plate, we took a couple of specimens home to identify but our confidence was dented when a dog walker sprinted over to us as we were leaving and tried to convince us they were poisonous, but despite the ominous portent we pressed on.

Happily, the dog walker was wrong. I've no idea where she got her identification from but we were careful, did a spore print etc and identified them as parasols.

I cooked them simply, fried in olive oil and garlic. The most astonishing thing I thought was how dramatically the mushrooms shrank when cooked. The cap was easily 30 or 40 cm across but by the time the water had been driven off, it was barely enough to feed 2 of us for lunch. Although, saying that, am I the only one to find wild mushrooms incredibly filling?


  1. wow....mushrooms scare me so the dog walker would probably have made me drop my goodies and run!!

    As for the children on the allotment thing...we have a few grumblers down our plot too...It really annoys me as I Think that children should be encouraged...after all they are the next generation!!

  2. The annoying thing re the complainer is they are a local resident who objects to the allotments per se (they were left derelict for about a decade, he preferred his house overlooking a bare field rather than a raggle taggle collection of sheds etc) so he's taken a scatter gun approach to complaints, it's anything and everything.

    I'm most annoyed because the Council know that but still took his complaint at face value, didn't talk to any of us to find out if there's any truth in it. But anyway .....

    The dog walker did give us pause (paws?) for thought!

  3. I have yet to dip my feet into mushroom foraging. So would have no clue whether these were edible or poisonous, but like you I would have stopped in my tracks to check them out. They are huge umbrellas, what a feast for the yes, and what a feat for your belly.

  4. Oh also, boohoo to the Parish Council and boohoo more to the person who made the original complaint. Allotments are places not only where vegetables,fruit and herbs grow, but little people grow and learn too!

  5. What a lovely way of putting it *wells up* I'll remember that for my response : )

  6. Wow, I've never spotted those before. We have 'shaggy ink-caps' in our garden this time of year, and they can be eaten when they are small - we fried some up last year and we're still around to tell the tale!