Since my childhood I have been collecting mushrooms. I remember going with my dad out in the forests in Switzerland and collecting them. I learned to take care to know them before I picked them. I remember the moment I first saw the most poisonous mushroom that grows in central Europe, the appropriately named Death Cap. There it was, even if you picked it, put it in your basked and discarded it afterwards, the mere contact with other mushrooms could threaten your life! Amazing.

Here in Iceland there are no life-threatening mushrooms. Some make you sick, admitted, but they are at least not lethal. 

DSC 0006 3One of the mushrooms I avoided until last week is the Coprinus comatus, English names include shaggy ink cap, lawyer's wig, or shaggy mane. I didn't pick them mostly because my dad had once an allergic reaction to them. He cooked them separately and became somewhat ill. 

We have a patch close to our house where they grow very vigorously and I just coudn't resist reading about them and pick a few and try them out. The verdict is simple. These mushrooms are delicious!!! You need to pick them when they are still closed. As soon as they open they disintegrate quite quickly into an unsightly black mess. So, if you take up a mushroom and it is all white, you hold an exellent piece of fresh food in your hand. Just clean them slightly and then you can fry them in a pan with some butter. As condiment you can add some vegetable (or other) stock cube, perhaps a little pepper and a dash of thyme. This would make a stew. You can also use them to make a mushroom soup.

There are a few things to beware. It is important to prepare the mushrooms as quickly as possible after picking them. After about four hours they will start to deteriorate. Once you have cooked them you are fine to freeze them. Apparently it is also possible to dry them, I have yet to try that out. 

Until now I managed only to freeze one batch, the rest I ate immediately.

Just one final word of advice, take care where you pick the mushrooms. They grow sometimes in quite unhealthy environments, eg. close to roads. Don't take those because they may have absorbed unhealthy substances from their environment. And just one more word of advice. It seems that some people cannot drink alcohol when consuming this mushroom.

Last modified onFriday, 22 September 2017 09:46
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