A local farmer kindly dropped off this magnificent haul of Horse Mushrooms a couple of hours ago. It has been many years since I have seen a haul like this. They are Agaricus arvenis but even with these seemingly choice mushrooms quite a few checks need to be made. Firstly where were they were found? Near native trees, pines or open pasture? Alarm bells go off if they are in a native or pine forest. But as they were from open paddocks I can continue to check. Do they stain yellow on scratching? No but they have a slight yellow hue both positive and necessary identification signs for Horse Mushrooms. Does the odour have taints of Phenol? No also good. Are the gills the right shape? Yes. Do they have a double veil? Yes
And finally is the spore print a chocolate brown? Yes.
All OK, so I am able to use them.
But what can we do with such a large amount of very mature examples? The small ones will be used for a special vegetarian dish and some kept for a request for the cooking class on Monday but the rest especially the very large ones will be dried.
They are now safely sliced and in the food dryer where the flavour will be concentrated and we can use them at our leisure to enhance sauces, stocks and any dish that needs the autumnal umami that dried fungi provides. These horse mushrooms are slightly different from what we often call field mushrooms. Again I stress do not rely on post like this but always get an experienced opinion from someone who has seen the specimens before you graze on any wild fungi.