Saturday, June 30, 2012

Identifying pine rings and wild mushroom risotto

Yesterday I went to learn more about mushrooms with a group of families and a fungus fundi. It was a wonderful learning time. I have been collecting pine ring mushrooms in the forest for a few years now and enjoying them in various ways.

The first time I served some 4 years ago Superman was not at all impressed! It was drummed into him as a kid that your do not eat wild mushrooms so when the dish was placed before him a rather unpleasant reflex action took place. He has gotten used to me eating them, and as he too loves mushies, this year he decided to try again.
Pine rings collected yesterday.

One of the problems that we have as foragers is identifying whether a pine ring is fresh enough to eat...let me share with you how to do this first. You will find them in dense pine leaf litter. Look carefully, they are sometimes just a little mound and if you move the needles off you will see the mushroom. The best months are May and June. They pop through about 2 days after rain.

Fresh pinering - notice the concentric circles like a tree trunk and the pale orange color.

Older pinering with the greeny color. I don't eat them when they get to this stage.

Stem of fresh pinerine - notice the little holes in the stem.

Old pinering stem - greening and no holes

This I learnt yesterday - the color test. Cut through the stem just above ground level and print it on your hand. 
 If the mushroom is indeed a pine ring then it will bleed orange. The fresher it is the clearer the circle on your hand.

Another rule about foraging mushrooms, they are best eaten the day they are picked and do not keep long. The tendency of people, when something is "free" is to take as much as they can find. This is really not necessary, take only what you can eat in one day. It is a treat, something special, not something to feast on. You need 1 palm sized (or the equivalent of) per person to add something special to the meal.

Fungi play a huge part in the forest by breaking down leaf litter, tree trunks and more. When you find a mushroom that is not edible, no need to kick it over and break it up, leave it to do it's work.

Last point about pine rings, your urine the next day is an orangey-brown color...not a problem...you are fine :-)

This is Jamie Oliver's recipe for wild mushroom risotto from his Jamie At Home cookbook.

Brown 2 stalks of celery and one onion in some olive oil and butter

Add 400g of risotto rice and stire to cover. Add 1 cup of white wine. Stir until absorbed. Then add, ladle by ladle, 1.5l chicken stock. Add a teaspoon of salt and 1 punnet mixed wild mushrooms (woolies has a special at the moment on Shitake/Oyster mushies.) Sit well with each addition.

Meanwhile dry fry your foraged mushrooms until soft

When cooked squeeze over the juice of 1 lemon, and add picked leaves of handful of parsely and thyme. Mix.

Finish the risotto with 25g cubed butter and 250ml grated parmesan. Mix in and allow to sit for 5minutes

Serve the risotto placing a heaped spoon of wild mushrooms on top.

This risotto is so moreish, comforting and indulgent. Thank goodnes we can only forage pine rings for a few months every year.

PS Superman had no negative reactions this time and thoroughly enjoyed the meal. Next time I hope he will come foraging with us.

1 comment:

My simple life said...

dear wendy,
very interesting,thanks!!!!
the mushroom risotto look good.i like jamie olivers cookbook,too.
have a nice weekend,
love regina