Foraging Shaggy ink caps and recipe

We found shaggy ink caps today

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These are very common and you will have seen them before, luckily there are no identical lookalikes to be confused with. These specimens are quite small as people seem to enjoy kicking over the bigger ones at this particular spot.

There are similar mushrooms, such as common inkcaps and magpie inkcaps. I think they look quite different and hope you do to if you’re considering looking for mushrroms at all.

Coprinus comatus are ‘shaggy’ and also sometimes called ‘lawyers wigs’ and ‘shaggy mane’

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Common ink cap. These mushroms arent toxic but they contain a chemical which inhibits your bodies natural process for breaking down alcohol, so you are effectively poisoned by alcohol.

 These common inkcaps; Coprinopsis atramentaria are not shaggy, though in larger specimens the grooves become very pronounced. I doubt you want to eat these.

Shaggy ink caps taste best before they are opened and before they are going black or ‘inky’ this is how they disperse their spores, they melt away. There are many other types of inkcaps none of which are edible if you drink alcohol or if you wear deodorant/perfume containing alcohol. There are have been cases of reactions caused by perfume/deodorant documented. They contain a chemical which inhibits your bodies natural process for breaking down alcohol,  you are effectively poisoned by alcohol.

You can see the one on the left in the short length of time it took to walk home has sensed something is up and is rapidly preparing to disperse it’s spores.

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The young ones with the gills still white are better to eat, the gills are free btw and they have loose ring quite low on the stem. The spore print in black/brown though I doubt yuou would need to do one for ID purposes.

You will know what these identifying features are if you have been reading your books. It’s a bad idea to forage mushrooms if you haven’t and don’t have a few for cross-referencing.

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Firm, fresh, young, gills still white; a bit tastier

As you will notice I have 2 here, not a feast for hungry hordes.

It is a good idea if trying a mushroom for the first time that you go easy with a small amount and see you how you react.

Recipe: Baked eggs and shaggy inkcaps

6 ink caps
4 eggs
1 clove garlic
Pepper and salt
Butter

Shaggy ink caps reduce a lot on cooking so adding them as a flavouring to eggs or something else works well. Serves 2 or 4 (1 each)

Clean and chop the ink caps, discarding the stems, and fry for two minutes in butter.

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Butter your ramekin dishes, add an egg to each and then top with the half-cooked mushrooms.

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Flavour with pepper and salt and maybe a tiny bit of fresh garlic on each. Bake in a pre-heated, hot oven 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6).

et voila! Enjoy!

I must admit I wasn’t that enamoured.

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