Autumn is the best season to forage for pine mushrooms which grow below pine trees. They are also known as milky saffron because when cut, they discharge a milky orange sap. The pine mushrooms are identified by the vibrant saffron coloured cap, gills and stems. They are quite 'meaty' and have a nutty flavour. Best way to cook them is to saute the pine mushrooms with garlic in butter, throw in some chopped parsley and rosemary and serve on crusty toasted sourdough topped with a sunny side egg (with runny yolk).
Jill took some time to explain how to identify the pine mushrooms and slippery jacks; how to remove them and to avoid poisonous mushrooms. The key difference between the two besides the taste is the pine mushrooms have gills and the slippery jacks have a spongy base under the cap. When foraging for mushrooms, we had to be careful and check with Jill before we cut the mushrooms. There were some poisonous mushrooms around. These poisonous mushrooms had a beautiful red colour with spots on the top. Poisonous mushrooms usually have a white base. There was a case in Canberra last year where a Chinese chef and friend died after eating the Death Cap mushrooms which the chef mistook for Chinese straw mushrooms.
|Jill holding a pine mushroom (see saffron coloured ring at the base)|
|Pine Mushrooms with distinguishable round rings|
Along the way we saw a large wombat burrow which explained the amount of fresh wombat poo around. We were careful to avoid stepping on them.
|Australian Native Banksia|
|Heading back to our cars|
Note: People die every year from eating the wrong mushrooms, NEVER eat a mushroom that you are not sure and have not been able to positively identify.