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99. Learn to identify and collect edible fungi.

23 September: I went on the fungi spotting trip, and learnt a key lesson: that it takes more than a brief walk in the countryside to learn to identify fungi. I think I should now be able to spot boletus, which are delicious and not uncommon in Epping Forest, and, critically, not easily confusable with anything poisonous that grows in the forest*. And I also learnt about Chicken of the Woods, which in use is allegedly indistinguishable from chicken -- much like wild Quorn in fact.

This is a clump of honey fungus, growing on the ground and on nearby trees. Apparently edible and tasty when cooked*.

This is a beefsteak fungus; it looks like a slab of meat and it 'bleeds' when you cut into it. Apparently in the category of 'definitely edible if you're starving but I'm not sure why anyone would want to.*

*obviously don't take my word for this! Get yer own fungus expert.

I also think I need a license to gather fungi in Epping forest, and even then it's only for personal use. I need to find out how to get one. We had a group license for this trip.

I came home with a little of the honey fungus which we shared, and one boletus that I found, tips on cooking and trying out fungus (top tips are: don't eat anything you find growing on or under conifers, because even if the fungus is edible it might have picked up toxins from the conifer, and don't eat anything that looks like the sort of mushroom you buy in the shops, leastways not if you pick it in a forest (those big old field mushrooms are apparently ok)*).

23 August: I got invited to a fungi foray -- and I've wanted to do it for years. So it's going on the list and I hope I'll be going fungi collecting shortly. I will report back.

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