|>>|| No. 12348
>I seemed to spend half the time picking cobwebs out of my face and sinking wellie-deep in mud/leafy debris, pretty certain there wasn't anyone else hunting around where I was going. Of course when I did finally find a cep it was at the side of a regularly-used public footpath.
Most mushrooms, certainly boletes, prefer areas of forest floor where there is little undergrowth. Some moss, fern or grass is fine, but you will mostly find them in more bare areas. And although mushrooms are indifferent to light conditions, they often seem to prefer clearings or other slightly more "airy" spots. They also seem to avoid soil conditions that are too wet and muddy.
>I was "lucky" enough to be out of work at the time, so I regularly spent hours per day during the season exploring the area
Mushroom hunting does take its time, like any hobby. But considering that many people who do work spend their evenings or weekends just sat in front of the telly gulping down the pints, you can't really say you haven't got time for it as a wage slave.
>Do boletes generally retain a more consistent amount of water than gilled mushrooms, I wonder? I remember a few occasions of gilled mushrooms from the same patch that have been fantastic one year and tasteless and watery the next.
Not that I would know of, but certainly when it's very wet, they will absorb more rainwater. It also means they spoil faster, so be careful when picking ones that are very wet.
>There are also a lot of folklore rules of thumb, especially in older "live off the land"-style 70's/80's books that you can still pick up in charity shops etc, that are potentially lethal. I've seen online guides on common mushrooms that only list half a dozen or so that are safe to eat, and those are particularly irresponsible given they're aimed at novices;
Buying a comprehensive and fairly recent mushroom guide is key to being a good forager. As I said, my parents have been avid mushroom hunters all their lives, and they've still got the old illustrated books from the 1970s to 1980s. The problem is that a) the hand-drawn illustrations sometimes really don't depict a species well, which can be immensely dangerous especially within the Amanita family, and b) some of the information is so outdated that if you just went by a book like that (perhaps from a second-hand book store or a flea market or a jumble sale), you would run the very real risk of spending a night or two in hospital. All the deadly poisonous mushrooms were marked as such in those old books as they would be in any up-to-date guide, but a few of the species have only in the last 20 or 30 years been found out to be poisonous and are still shown as edible in those old books.
So if you are inspired to try your luck mushroom hunting because you picked up an old guide book for 50p somewhere, that's just about the worst place to start from.
> Might have to give honey mushrooms another look, given how often I've come across them in the past.
Be careful - there is a deadly poisonous lookalike called galerina marginata. I actually saw a bunch of them growing on a tree stump the other weekend. I was going to pick them at first, then I thought I wasn't in the mood for honey mushrooms, and then I actually took the time to get out my guide and look them up because something seemed off that I couldn't put my finger on. They are quite easily mistaken for some members of the honey muhsroom family.