Tag Archives: Mushrooms

The Survival Series Part 11: Horn of Plenty

Walking across woodlands and along old ruins and walls, my inner forager leaps into action.

This week on the survival series, I’m going back to fungi and am looking at other edible treat that’s worth nabbing if you’re in a hurry:

Horn of Plenty or the Trumpet of Death

Don’t let this mushroom’s ominous-sounding name deceive you – it’s actually a very safe one to eat.

A horn or funneled-shaped mushroom with a rough, and crinkly dark brown cap, the horn of plenty can be found in the woods but especially in autumn. It can be found in North, Central and South America, as well as throughout Europe and Asia.

The mushrooms have no gills and their caps’ undersides will always be smooth or slightly wrinkled. They’re cousins to chanterelles and are often called “black chanterelles” given their similar shape.

Tasting far better than it looks, when cooked this mushroom can be made into a lovely mushroom sauce, added to a wild mushroom soup or used in a risotto. It has has a rich and smoky taste and dries very well.

Horn of Plentys are delicious but unfortunately are not the easiest mushroom to find as they blend well into the woodland floor – so keep an eye out! They love hardwood forests, particularly if there are beech or oak trees around and also have a tendency to grow in clusters.

As with all foraged mushrooms, it’s vitally important that you can identify them with complete certainty before eating them.

Mushrooms are the type of food that prefer to breath so if you’re foraging, it’s better to store them in a paper bag or basket rather than a plastic bag; if it smells rotten and soggy, don’t pick it up.

Movie to watch: Zombieland

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(Lead image via Wikimedia Commons/Jason Hollinger)

The Survival Series Part Three: Chicken of the Woods

With a fascination for the apocalypse and survival, it’s natural that I’d have a love for wild food too.

Each week I’ll feature a natural food resource that can be found lurking where you least expect it.

See it as a guide for when things start to go down; if anything you’ll be prepared!

This week we’re moving onto mushrooms. But be warned, you should always have at least three wild food books with you to reference what you’re eating (particularly with mushrooms as many of them are deadly).

Chicken of the Woods

Laetiporus sulphurous or Chicken of the woods with its orange or sulphur-yellow colouring, is hard to miss.

This impressive fungus is often seen, you guessed it, in the woods on trees such as beech, oak, chestnut, yew (less so on hardwoods).

Don’t harvest this mushroom if it’s on a yew as this tree contains dangerous toxins that could be taken up by the fungus.

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(Image via WikimediaCommons/Gargoyle888)

The young brackets of this mushroom are soft and spongy but as they age they’re thinner and paler. You can usually find them from May to October and they’re best picked when young and moist.

One popular way of cooking these delicious, golden, bites of chickeny goodness, is to cut them into chunky slices and sauté them with a little oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

For those who are looking to buy chicken of the woods from a reliable source, check out Ballyhoura Mushrooms who are Irish growers of specialist and foraged mushrooms.

Remember, never eat a wild food that you can’t 100% identify, it’s not worth your life.

Movie to watch: Night of the Living Dead

(Main image via WikimediaCommons/Doug Bowman)

Part Twelve: Irish Food and Drink Producers Worth Getting to Know

Celebrating the best of what we grow, create and produce here in Ireland – this ongoing series looks at some of the many things we create here.

Here are five more producers that stood out for me this week:

Mella’s Fudge

Mella began making fudge for a local sweet shop in Bantry when she was in school.

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Gradually her kitchen enterprise grew in scale and now she works from her own unit kitchen in Lisavaird Co-op, outside Clonakilty, West Cork.

Website: http://www.mellasfudge.com/


Goatsbridge Trout Farm

Founded in 1962, they’re one of the few trout farms that produce local products from start to finish; growing their fish through their whole life cycle.

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Their fish live in natural earthen ponds, and they grade all of the trout according to weight and size.

Website: http://goatsbridgetrout.ie/


Fancy Fungi

Fancy Fungi began in 1998 to a profitable enterprise as a hobby! It became a partnership company run by Nikk George and Nickey Dempsey in 2001 and in 2006 it formed a limited company.

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The only specialist in the region of cultivation, development and production of edible, exotic and gourmet mushrooms, they produce on average 700Kg to 1000Kgs of mushrooms per week!

Their products are naturally grown and chemical free and contain no animal by product.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fancy-Fungi/201606299852309?sk=timeline


Tempted? Irish Craft Cider

Davy Uprichard had an idea to set up ‘dj’s juice and cider’ and built a purpose built Cidery at his home outside Lisburn where hestarted pressing apples.

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Founded in 2009, Tempted Irish Craft Cider is made in Northern Ireland from a blend of the finest Co. Armagh apples using traditional farmhouse methods to produce a lightly carbonated pure juice cider.

Website: http://www.temptedcider.com/


De Róiste Puddings

De Roiste Artisan Pudding began in Ballyvourney Co. Cork back in 2008 by Jimmy Allen who also owns a Heating and Plumbing company in the town.

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With the help of his son Declan , they opened the shop with the family recipe been passed down through the generations from Declan’s great grandmother Elsie Roche.

Website: http://deroistepudding.blogspot.ie/

(All images via company website and Facebook pages)