About wild mushrooms

Pine Mushrooms
are delicious, full of flavour and somehow very meaty and filling. Be warned Boletus mushrooms have slight laxative qualities. They are becoming more and more common. So common in fact, that apart from our more adventurous green grocers, they can be found in our parklands and city squares, usually where there are pine trees, their favourite growing terrain. So, to all of the idiots that kick them mercilessly around the parklands, in the firm belief they are worthless toadstools — bend your knees, pick them, take them home and eat them, or at least leave them intact for those of us who would like to eat them. To see how to clean wild mushrooms click here

Pine Mushroom tips

Never wash the mushrooms before cooking them. They absorb lots of water, and are spoiled by washing. Get yourself a firmish bristle paintbrush from an art or craft store. Simply pull the pine needles from them, clean them up where necessary. The video to the left shows the cleaning process and we always throw the trim into the garden and dig them in.

They dry well, either in the sun, which can be tricky at this time of the year, in a low 50 °C oven on cake racks, or better still, a home food dehydrator at 70°C if you ’re lucky enough to have one. Slice them thinly, they ’ll dry better and more quickly.

If you are looking for an out–of–season substitute for these recipes, use big open Swiss Brown mushrooms.

people die every year from eating the wrong mushrooms, never eat a mushroom that you have not been able to positively identify.

Pine Mushrooms and Slippery Jacks what’s the difference?

Warning! Pine Mushrooms keep longer than Slippery Jacks, and whilst most mushrooms have a mild laxative affect, Slippery Jacks, for that reason should not be eaten in large quantities, say over 100g per serving. Once the Slippery Jacks become very slimy and show deterioration they are best discarded unless you are going to deep– fry them over a temperature of 170°C

left — shows the underside and colour difference between pine mushrooms (Saffron Milk Cap – Lactarius delicious) and top slippery jacks (Boletus luteus)

Slippery Jacks
not to be confused with pine mushrooms.

Some forty years ago I went mushrooming in the, South Australian Barossa Valley to Kypo Forrest with German and Austrian friends. To their delight and my absolute horror we picked buckets of these bright, mustard yellow mushrooms. The variety we found are commonly known as slippery jacks and are a brighter yellow with less of an orange tinge than the pine mushrooms and come with an underside with a foam rubber appearance/texture.

We took them back to our nearby campsite at the local nudist club, where they proceeded to pull the pine needles from them and cook them.  My Australian heritage had taught me never to eat any strange coloured mushrooms, they smelled delicious, but their colour terrified me. My friends gorged themselves and I sat there patiently waiting for them to die.

When dinnertime came and my friends still looked healthy enough I ate Buterschwammel or Boletus mushrooms for the first time.

We often laugh when we see the city of Adelaide’s solar powered bus driving through the city of Adelaide with the words “tindo” the indigenous word for sun, and the identical name of one of Australia’s oldest nudist clubs emblazoned all over it. Do they know? Probably not!

preparing wild mushrooms for freezing
this method is excellent for boletus and pine mushrooms

general tips
Many people wash their mushrooms but, whilst it does take a little longer, a soft paintbrush is a much better way. Washing them spoils the texture and adds another layer of sliminess, not to mention alters the way they cook and the taste.

If you have been collecting in the rain lay the mushrooms, in a single layer, on clean towels or paper towel and put them in a warm room for a few hours to dry off.

how to
Cut away any damaged parts of the mushrooms and brush away any dirt and pine needles. Cut them into about 1cm thick slices. We use a mix of clarified butter and EVO for maximum flavour. Use a wok and on very high heat fry the mushrooms with a generous amount of Maldon and freshly ground black pepper. Fry tossing over constantly until they are lightly coloured and saucy.

Allow to cool and tightly pack into plastics or vac and freeze.

Dehydrated Mushrooms
Store at room temperature in glass jars with a silica gel tab.

Mushroom Powder
We make this with the bits, dehydrate them and then powder them. The mushroom powder does not require refrigeration but we do keep a silica gel in the jar.

Porcini Mushrooms Next to the truffle the porcini is the most prized. Cleaned again with a soft brush, when fresh it is firm in texture and full of flavour. It also dries perfectly and powders brilliantly and makes a great flavour addition to wet dishes, especially, when you don’t have stock available or just want to make something fast and fabulous. Whilst we have known they were abundant in the Adelaide Hills for a long time, it is only the last eight to ten years that they have become more common finds.
below some of the best wild mushroom dishes are simple. Fried polenta, pancetta, fried mushrooms with garlic a splash of cream and butter….salt and pepper.