Sunday, February 20, 2005

Mushroom Foray
with Charmoon Richardson
at Atwood Ranch - Glen Ellen
Lunch at Schug Winery in Carneros

We set off at 9am with the hopes that the rain would subside when we got to Atwood Ranch. We were prepared for the worst with hiking boots, raincoats, umbrella and gloves.

We actually started hunting for mushrooms about 10:30 and up and down the hills, through the woods and meadows to forage for whatever we could find. Charmoon identified all we brought to him – and after an 1 hour and half we retreated to the parking lot with not the most exciting haul. In fact nothing of the hundred odd mushrooms we collectively foraged was worth cooking or eating. Oh well. Mushrooms we found today included yellow dye mushrooms, the notorious Destroying Angel (we found one!) and various “little brown mushrooms” and black fungi.

After a quick lunch at Schug (including the 2003 Sauvignon Blanc, 2003 Pinot Noir & 2003 Merlot and the 1999 Pinot Noir from magnum at lunch), and a mushroom cooking demo by Charmoon it was off home.

What we learned today:

1. How to store mushrooms in the fridge. Fill a earthenware or glass bowl 2/3 full of mushrooms (try to avoid many layers) and cover with a soaked and well rung out dishcloth – then refrigerate. Redampen the towel every few days as needed and your mushrooms may last up to a month if you are lucky!

2. Eating raw mushrooms is a poor idea. That includes those white ones you get in restaurant salads… Mushrooms contain Chiton which breaks down when cooked and is much more easily digested – plus there is a chemical in raw mushrooms which may be carcinogenic and breaks down when cooked. So cook’em!

3. If you aren't 100% certain of the identity of a mushroom - throw it out.


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