Foraging for pine mushrooms in Bright
PINE MUSHROOMS IN BRIGHT
Driving along the majestic tree lined road of the Great Alpine Rd in Bright, we spot pine trees on the side of the road, so we pull over and investigate. To our delight, after walking a few metres in, we spot Pine mushrooms, aka Saffron Milk Caps, (Lactarius deliciousus) growing in clusters underneath the pine trees. Quickly we run back to the car to find something to store them in, but we only have a plastic bag! Oh well, we run excitedly back into the forest and start our hunt. We walk carefully to ensure we don’t step on any, keeping our eyes peeled for small mounds of pine needles. Once a mound is spotted, we carefully clear the pine needles revealing the mushroom underneath.
To forage, gently pull it out from the base and shake off the excess dirt. If you have a knife handy cut off the stem and discard; the stem is tough and woody tasting so it is not necessary to keep hold of. Be careful when placing them in your bag (a basket is better for the task), because the more you touch the gills or bruise them, the more they will turn green. Pine mushrooms are distinguished by their orange colour caps with bright orange gills underneath.
We also found some poisonous mushrooms too, which we did not touch. This beautiful red one Amanita muscaria (Fly agaric), is poisonous.
It didn’t take long to fill our bag, and we took enough to cook our meal that night and some for the next day.
I cooked the mushrooms in garlic and butter for a couple of minutes on a high heat. I served it with kale and quinoa for my hubby, while I had a nice juicy wagu t-bone. We had a Captain’s Creek organic pinot which complimented the meal perfectly.
The pine mushroom has a mild taste so it could lend itself to some stews or soups to soak up flavour.
My tip to anyone keen to start mushroom hunting is to partake in the 1 day course run by Cameron Russell, where he will lead you through the edible and poisonous mushrooms in Victoria. We participated in the course in 2010. The price hasn’t changed and is only $50 per person and you get to sample some yummy mushroom nibbles afterward. http://www.mushroomtours.com/
Did you know?
The best time to hunt for them is after the rain in Autumn, but they can be found in the months of January to May.
In Europe and Asia they are highly prized and sought after.
They should be washed before cooking to remove as much of the milk as possible.
Your urine turns red after eating them.
– Australia fungi illustrated / I R McCann – Vermont, Vic., Macdown Productions, 2003
- Edible and poisonous mushrooms of the world / Ian R Hall et al. – Portland, Timber Press, 2003
- A field guide to Australian fungi / Bruce Fuhrer – Melbourne, Bloomings Books, 2005
- The great encyclopaedia of mushrooms – Cologne, Konemann, 1999
- The practical mushroom encyclopaedia / Peter Jordan, Steven Wheeler – London, Hermes House, 2003
- Common Australian fungi: a bushwalker’s guide / Tony Young – UNSW Press, 2000
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