Common, easily identified and tasty – oyster mushrooms are a good beginner’s mushroom. But there is one loo-alike you should be aware of.
While the feint flavour and slippery yet crunchy texture of jelly ear isn’t particularly esteemed in western cultures, they work well eastern cuisine – especially miso soups, stir-fry etc.
In bleak midwinter, when mycophogists start to look hungry and haunted by the paucity of pickings, velvet shank (flamunilla velutipes) can put a glint back in their eye. It grows between November and March, when, in Scotland, there are very few other mushrooms about.
Wood blewits generally do not appear until there has been at least a light frost. This makes them doubly appealing as other top gourmet mushrooms can become scarce at this point in the season. And make no mistake – these are right up the top tier of the finest edible fungi.
Among the stellar array of colourful, sculpturesque and eccentric wild mushrooms, the waxcap family (hygrocybes) shine brightest. They are the rare, beautiful jewels of the fungi world, shining like rubies, emeralds and diamonds in late autumn meadows, lawns and graveyards.