foraging Blewits

*advice*

As you might know I am a novice mushroom forager, and am very thorough (as you have to be; novice or not). Please read through the posts on mushroom foraging and do not take advice from this site on ID. Please dont ask me where I find things, even if you know me very well. I will be reluctant to tell you (unless we swap information/take each other to spots :-D) as it takes a long time and a lot of effort to find and be familiar with wild mushrooms. There is only one way to obtain this skill and that is to learn for yourself through books (lots and lots, more the better) forays with experts and study in their natural situation (forays should help you with this too) you have to know their subtle identifiers, their trees and habitats. Dont rely on the internet or a friend.

Okay so that bit over with. I found Blewits for the first time πŸ˜€ 3 kinds; Field blewits, wood blewits and the closely related sordida (like wood blewit but smaller and slightly more unusual) The only other blewit is a flowery blewit. A bit rarer and a bit tougher for a novice to ID. I hear these are the tastiest.

I love foraging in the Autumn and early winter πŸ˜€

Getting colder but tasty mushrooms are always worth it! and earlier sunsets/later sunrises and their beautiful colours add to the experience.

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Blewits usually start cropping up now.

I found wood blewits in a field under a large old pine tree, and field blewits in woods. Blewits are saprophytes which means they need lots of dead organic matter which they live on and break down. Other mushrooms are myccorrhizal living by a complex symiosis with their trees. The name, I have discovered, isn’t as indicative of the habitat as you might expect.

These were the first I found and I thought initially they must be wood blewits but I needed to read up and check first.

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Wood blewits should be lilac-ish on the stems and gills, the caps of wood blewits are more lilac when they are young. Blewit is an old english word for blue describing the purply colour on the younger fruiting bodies. Sinuate gills, straight stem with lilac that fades with age.

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The sinuate shape of the gills

Sometimes they can look more washed out, or browner, it might depend on the light, seems the more light the less lilac.

These ones are l.sordida or c.sordida (depends which classification you want to use, they are the same. c. for clitocybe l. for lepista. They were reclassified from lepista to clitocybe) c.sordida are a bit smaller than wood blewits which are gereally much sturdier looking, even when small

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These blewits had such a beautiful almost ‘mother of pearl’ shine and sometimes an almost translucent when just picked quality. It’s very distinguishing once you are familiar with it. They also have a particular perfumed or flowery scent which again becomes very distinguishing when you are used to it.

They aren’t the only purple mushroom though, there are a couple you’d want to avoid. In particular there are some purple cortinarius which can look very similar but this family is now known to be toxic and safest avoided. They have a web between the cap and stem which disappears completely as they get older. However they also have a very clear rust brown spore print, sometimes you can see the spores dusted on the gills and stems.

Always do a spore prinf if you’re not 100% confident.

Below is a violet cortinarius less common than the blewit which we found on a foray, our guide said he actually seen these for sale once labelled as wood blewits!

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A wood blewit has a ‘nude’ coloured spore print like skin. c. nuda being it’s latin name. Its often described as pale pink.

This spore print below was from my c.sordida it has the same print and tastes just as good.

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showing how the colour varies in the light and the ‘shimmering’ quality when picked.

Field blewits

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You can see the white mycelium on the bottom of the stems, often a bit of debris comes up with mushroom, something else indicitive of a blewit

I fried mine with a bit of butter and added them to a savoury rice dish with chopped parsley they were really delicious and more of that lovely smell released as they cooked

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