Mushrooms on the table after a fungi foray waiting to be identified.
A basket of boletes.
If you are picking mushrooms in the forest, make sure you do it by gently extracting the entire mushroom, root and all. This leaves the mycelia undisturbed and able to produce more fruiting bodies like the mushroom you have just picked. Don't use a rake to gather mushrooms as this will totally destroy the mycelia, and don't pick mushrooms by cutting through the stem with a knife. That leaves a wound which is vulnerable to bacterial attack, which will also kill the mycelia. Don't gather mushrooms from the side of the road or industrial sites either as they are known bio-accumulators, taking up heavy metals and radio-active substances.
The quantity here is obviously more than a nice omelette's worth, but never fear -- they freeze and dry well. To prepare them brush off all the dirt and bits of forest floor. Cut the bottom off the stem, then cut the mushroom in half. This allows you to assess how much fly larval activity there is inside. If you are lucky there will be none. In bad cases you may want to discard the mushroom. Otherwise, simply cut out the affected sections. You may also wish to peel off the spongey pores as they hold a lot of water and can interfere with cooking the mushroom. Slice the mushroom, including as much of the stem as you wish.
Boletes I picked in the Forest of Preuilly.
We ate them.
We ate them.
To dry them, slice them and lay on an oven rack at a low temperature overnight, perhaps with the door propped open slightly. Some species will go black, which makes them unappetising looking, but does not affect their flavour. Make sure they are completely dry or they will not store well.
To fry them from fresh Paul says that best practice is to cook them until they release their water, then drain the liquid before continuing to cook the mushrooms.
Boletes waiting to be identified after an outing in the Forest of Loches.