Dear Wild Cooks,
There will be many of you who are wild about mushrooms but you really must take care when foraging for them. I have been cooking with mushrooms for many years now and even I always forage with someone who knows the score – these things can make you seriously ill.
That’s where ’Fungi David’ comes in as he was kind enough to accompany me to pick a blewit or two. I must admit I have always steered clear of foraging for mushrooms as they scare the heck out of me but with David at the controls I felt in safe hands.
There are two types of blewit, the woodland variety and the field variety. Both can give you indigestion or in some cases make you ill if you do not cook them properly so it is important for you to carry a few references with you whilst picking as well as good cooking manuals. Sorry, I don’t mean to be negative about the dear mushroom family, but they can be nasty fellas if you’re not clued up on them!
David showed me how to identify the blewit mushrooms and how they live in the lush areas of the field as opposed to the shorter patches of grass.
David crouched down at the side of the mushroom and produced a pocket knife to slice the base of the mushroom and present a blewit for me to see.
Back at David’s house I found out that he has foraged the countryside for all sorts of ingredients from a young age. His wife Sandy is also an excellent cook and has jams and pickles from all manor of foraged ingredients.
Blewits are not as popular as chanterelles but they have a great place in the wild mushroom mixes of today or even well cooked in various dishes. I
decided I was going to make sausage and mushroom rolls.
So, out came a pan and my freshly foraged mushrooms and I was hoping not to ‘blewit’ in front of David and his wife! What was apparent was that they are quite wet when you fry them so I would suggest not overloading the pan. It is also essential that when you pick them check there are no insect larvae on the surface of the mushrooms.
A blewit must be cooked, I am sure I have already said this and you can gauge by now that working with these foraged fungi finds does freak me out a little! I am nervous that people don’t know what they are looking for, even some blewits look like another purple mushroom that can have you in bed for weeks if you eat it…..ok calm down Steph lets get on with it!
We never cook with blewits at Rudding Park as we are far happier with wild garlic, wood sorrel and nettles! At least you know where you are with them and when cooking for the general public and valued customers one must always be super careful.
Why not try this great sausage roll recipe with your blewits. The family loved them, it’s a good job they trusted me and more to the point that they trusted David!
Always remember if in any doubt do not pick the mushrooms.