All about Fungi

Posted on November 19, 2013 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

fungifungi fungi

 

I have always loved eating mushrooms, ( it's funny to say this but Campbell's mushroom soup was one of my favourite when I was a kid) years ago, I even bought a hardback cookbook on mushrooms only. About two years ago, I met a couple on a hike who like to go fungi foraging abroad and in rural England. On one hike, we encountered a variety of wild fungi and they pointed out to me the ones that were edible and ones that were poisonous. I was fascinated and wanted to learn more.

I had no idea how popular fungi foraging is in the U.K. these days, it seems like it has become one of the 'trendiest' activities for many, thanks partly to the celebrity chefs who have been promoting it endlessly. I tried to find a fungi workshop about 2 months ago but most of them were fully booked. Eventually, I managed to book myself onto a one-day workshop ( the last one of the year) ran by Fungi to be with in Hampstead Heath.

 

fungi fungifungiautumn fungi

 

The day started with an hour of introduction into the basics and characteristics of fungi, followed by a walk in the heath. And then the typical English weather set in, pouring down while we were out and about but stopped as soon as we got in! We were told that there are over 600 species in the heath alone, but due to the fallen leaves, it was very hard to spot the 'camouflaged' fungi, but we managed to find a variety including huge ones ( which I have never noticed before) on tree barks.

After the walk, we had a delicious lunch, followed by putting our knowledge to the test and trying to identify what we discovered on the walk. This proved to be extremely difficult. I realised that the workshop was a good introduction, but I will need a lot more time and 'studying' to gain the knowledge needed to identify the vast variety. Even after the workshop, I don't have the confidence to go foraging without assistance, so in the meantime, I will stick to my supermarket mushrooms...

 

hampstead heath hampstead heath

 

Currently, there is an on-going debate and concern on fungi foraging in the U.K. because of irresponsible picking by Eastern Europeans and/or pickers collecting in mass for commercial usage ( then selling to restaurants). Although it is legal for for people to pick fungi for their own personal usage in the UK, it is illegal to sell fungi for profit-making. Fungi hotspots like Epping and New forests have become the target for these illegal activities, and it is a real shame that people do not respect nature and the eco system. I only wish that people can see the long-term damage they are creating by their short-term personal gains.

Fungi are fascinating organisms, and I hope I will have more opportunities and time to learn more about them in the future.

 


This post was posted in London, Food & dining, Nature, Eco living & sustainability, Hiking & walking and was tagged with London, Food & dining, walks, nature, eco living, fungi

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