Nature Diary: It’s the time of year for mushroom foraging

The trick is to learn which trees specific mushrooms grow under

Chanterelle mushroom

Chanterelle mushroom

 

Mushroom foraging has grown in popularity in recent years, not least because many of our Eastern European immigrants are skilled mushroom foragers, encouraging the native Irish to become more adventurous.

The mushroom foraging season runs from August to October and requires both rain and heat to bring out an abundance of fungi.

As well as the easily identifiable field mushrooms, popular edible forest fungi include chanterelles, ceps, common puffballs and charcoal burners.

The trick is to search close to the ground and learn which trees specific mushrooms are most likely to grow under. Then, you’ve got to develop a very keen eye to identify characteristic shapes, colours, gills and the age of what you’re picking.

Novice mushroom foragers must beware because there as many more poisonous mushrooms out there, some of which closely resemble the edible ones. It’s best to go out with an expert forager or join an organised mushroom foraging hunt. You could start with blackstairsecotrails.ie, mushroomstuff.com and irishseedsavers.ie

Sylvia Thompson

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