Getting to know nature, and then eating it!

Frozen foraging in Exeter

Published: 3/3/2012

Jelly ear Well that was fun! Today we went for a walk with the vein hope that we might find some Velvet Shanks and the slightest of hopes that we might find oyster mushrooms. I think it's a bit late for oyster mushrooms but walking along the path on the edge of the wood Nicole looked up and back and said "what's that"? "Oyster Mushrooms" I exclaimed and leapt up the tree with much abandon. They were frozen solid so they came off as a bracket (woops!) but we left some brackets on the tree so I felt less guilty than I would if it were the only bracket!

Continuing on our walk and heading into the woods we came across vast hoards of "Jelly Ear" (or "Jews Ear" for the politically incorrect) fungi which we picked after the obligatory flicking and attempts to find the most "ear like" one (I think Nicole won this hands down).

Further into the woods and we came across some early wild garlic (aka Ramsons) which we decided would go quite nicely with our oyster mushrooms and might make the jelly ear more palatable.

Wild Oyster Mushrooms with Wild Garlic on toast Back at the house, we decided to make the mushrooms into an entree for our dinner. Both of which we sauteed in butter with the wild garlic and served it on toast (note: we put the wild garlic in towards the end to stop it burning or going black). Now Jelly Ear is supposed by many to be pretty much flavourless and I can agree to a point but I wouldn't say they're not worth eating. The fun of the Jelly Ear is not how strong it tastes but the opposite. As you munch the fun is in trying to find that hint of mushroom over the wild garlic and butter; it's weak but it is there. Be warned, if you sautee Jelly ear mushrooms, you should use a lid as they pop violently (rather like popcorn).

The Oyster mushrooms (once we had discarded most of them due to maggot infestation) tasted great and were well worth the time it took to ensure there were none of our little friends remaining (we sliced through almost every single gill). I think if we were picking Oyster mushrooms in season there would probably have been less of a maggot issue. So that's 2012 off to a good start... Hoorah!

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