In the olden days, there were really only two ways to get hold of mushrooms:
- Buying them from shops;
- Picking them growing wild – something that typically was restricted to rural folk and not an option for those in towns and cities.
Buying from shops was and is a very good way of finding fresh mushrooms including some unusual and exotic varieties.
Sadly, it has to be said that sometimes shop mushrooms might have been hanging around for a while on shop shelves. While some shops and supermarkets are excellent at removing a product that’s not quite at its fresh best from their shelves, others are, shall we say, a little less fussy.
The difference in taste between really fresh mushrooms and those that have spent some time ‘on the shelf’ is extraordinary. So, get to know which shops and supermarkets really offer the freshest mushrooms and go for them.
Things to look for – mushrooms shouldn’t ever look dry, shrivelled or discoloured. If they are then they’re past their best and are probably well worth missing. There are some exceptions where connoisseurs will tell you a certain type of mushroom improves with age but typically fresh is best.
It’s a tragic fact that every year, all over the world, people die by eating highly poisonous mushrooms they’ve picked wild.
In centuries past, local people knew the countryside inside-out and what mushrooms they could and could not eat. Today that knowledge has been lost to the vast majority of people – so don’t take chances.
For example, in France, all pharmacists are fully trained in wild mushroom identification. So, people pick wild mushrooms and take them to their local pharmacist for checking to make sure they’re safe and edible.
In Australia though, unless you’re an expert or with an acknowledged expert, it’s safest to avoid picking and eating wild fungi.
The next best thing
If you really want the very best of fresh mushrooms and safety, you can purchase a mushroom growing kit.
Various types exist and they’re usually self-contained with plenty of instructions.
Your mushrooms will quickly spring up in the safety of your own home. Then you can pick and use them in some of Fresh Crop Mushrooms’ great recipes.
It’s really easy and great fun. Why not give it a try?