Blue Mountains News

Fungus Among Us: Mushroom Season Is Here

By Stephen Krinks
Posted: 1 Mar 2024
Photo used under Creative Commons License. Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/70626035@N00/8189100336/
The Blue Mountains and surrounding areas harbour a rare treat come Autumn – edible mushrooms!

From late February through to late May, many edible species emerge from damp soil following rain, ready to be picked, checked, and if safe, eaten!

While the idea of foraging for your own meal is enticing, prioritising safety is paramount. Here's a guide to get you started:

Safety First:

  • Never eat a wild mushroom unless you are 100% certain of its identification. Even look-alikes of edible species can be deadly.
  • Go with an experienced forager, or join a guided tour led by a qualified expert.
  • Carry a reliable field guide or app for reference, but treat them as a secondary tool, not a definitive source.


What to Avoid:

  • Brightly coloured or oddly shaped mushrooms are often poisonous.
  • Mushrooms with slimy or sticky caps are generally a no-go.
  • Mushrooms with gills that change colour when bruised are best avoided.


The Blue Mountains Bounty:

The good news is, the Blue Mountains, particularly the pine forests near Oberon, offer a couple of readily identifiable and delicious edible varieties:

Saffron Milk Cap: This vibrant orange mushroom with milky-orange sap when bruised is a delicious find.
Slippery Jack: Look for a brown cap (often slimy, hence the name) with yellow, sponge-like pores underneath. The pores turn brown as the mushroom matures. The stem is white to pale yellow with small brown dots on the upper part.

Responsible foraging is important. Take only what you need and leave some behind for others and for the ecosystem's health. If you’re an inexperienced forager and are unsure whether the mushroom is safe to eat, leave it alone and admire it from afar.

Enjoy the fresh mountain air and the thrill of the hunt, but prioritise safety and respect the delicate balance of nature.

Learn more about safe mushroom foraging in Tracie McMahon’s article for Lithgow Local News here

 
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