Pine mushroom, Saffron milkcap - Lactarius deliciosus
One of the most rewarding harvest of the year is arguably mushrooms, particularly if you live in Australia and near a pine plantation. Come the autumnal rain and the colder nights, the forest is littered with this seasonal treat. Introduced to Australia to aid the growth of exotic pine trees, the pine mushroom have been flourishing, giving much pleasure to generations of migrant communities who recognised them from their homeland. Nowadays the secret is out, and you have commercial harvesters who supply them to restaurants and farmers market.
If you know what you doing, you can get them yourself from a forest like this:
Saffron milkcap has a carrot orange cap forming a cup shape when mature. It can be 4 to 25cm across, often with darker orange lines in the form of concentric circles. It has crowded orange gills underneath and a squat orange stipe (base) which is often hollow. When fresh cut, the mushroom leak an orange-red "milk".
It is quite delicate and stains deep green when bruised.
Is in season from March to June depending on rain.
A peppery taste, firm texture, great saute’ in oil with garlic.
Recipe by Richard Robinson of StudioNeon
250g of mushrooms; 2 bay leaves; 5 black pepper corns; 2 juniper berries; 3 glove of garlic ; 1 sprig of thyme; 1 sprig of rosemary; 200ml of sherry vinegar; 100g sugar; 200ml water; 50ml olive oil
Place all ingredients (except mushrooms) in a pan bring to the boil. Add mushrooms and simmer for 1min. Let cool at room temp. Meanwhile take a jar, and sterilize. Let jar cool. Place the mushrooms and liquid in a jar with a tight fitting lid, make sure the liquid reaches the top of the jar and the mushrooms are submerged. The mushroom will keep for at least 6months in the fridge as long as the mushrooms stay under the liquid.
Find mushrooms harvesting locations on Wild Food Map, just use the search bar
An article I wrote about some of the species of mushrooms you can find in the forest (edible and not)
Foraging tours in Sydney to get in-field expirience
And below a selection of images from fellow foragers: happy harvesting everyone :)