On Saturday 14 May, the library hosted a Mushroom Foraging excursion with Adelaide horticulturalist Kate Grigg.
We took a group of 15 guests to Pine Park in Tea Tree Gully and then onto South Australian state forest near Mount Crawford. It wasn’t long before we had collected a decent amount of mushrooms, garlic and other edible flowers & greens.
Our guide Kate has been a forager of wild mushrooms for over 18 years in South Australia, particularly in the Adelaide Hills region. She’s passionate about teaching others about many of the edible goods that lie in our native bushland and pine forests, including mushrooms but also native greens, flowers and berries. Like anything, it’s about knowing what you need to look for.
A few things Kate taught us about spotting edible wild mushrooms:
- Don’t eat any mushroom with white spores (the part underneath the top of the mushroom). If in doubt – leave it out.
- Cut the stems off any edible mushrooms you find. Then put them back under the pine needles, to help the next flush of mushrooms bloom.
- Don’t eat raw mushrooms – they are harder to digest. It is always best to cook any wild mushrooms you find. The heat will break down any mild toxins in wild mushrooms.
- Avoid all umbrella shaped mushrooms – these are the deadly ones. They often have lovely and iridescent colouring, but don’t be fooled. Take photos, but please please please don’t eat them.
The most common kind of mushrooms we came across were saffron milk caps and slippery jacks, which are the normal sort found in Australian pine forests.
Many colourful and magical mushrooms were also spotted – but Kate was quick to point out these are often poisonous and absolutely inedible.
The weather was perfect and it seemed the more mushrooms we found, the more we continued to find. We discovered an edible feast spread over the pine forest floor.
After lots of gathering and walking, we cooked our wild mushrooms in olive oil and in some of the garlic we found in Pine Park.
Paired with some sourdough bread, our mushrooms proved to be a delicious morning tea on a misty autumn day.