What happened to all the Mushrooms?

We normally have an abundance of wild mushrooms every autumn. Well when I mention mushrooms, I mean the white table mushroom (Agaricus Bisporus) that most have eaten or cooked with at one stage or other.

This year, because the weather was so strange, there was hardly a sight of a mushroom all autumn. They occur naturally in August or September when it is still warm and humid, and when the nighttime temperatures drop near freezing. Then they spring out of the ground, and you can find them especially where cattle have been trampling because there’s no grass to cover them there!

With our buckets and buckets of mushrooms, we take enough for ourselves and use the remainder to give to friends and family, who in turn give us things like tomatoes and gooseberries and other nice things they have too much of. So we all gain. So this year, there is none, and we are all disappointed. Trading for us is made a little more difficult, because others bring us their goodies while we don’t have much to give. Hmmm, well we gave away a lot of apples so I suppose we’re not too badly off.

The mushrooms taste wild, and have a strong taste, and are much nicer than those you buy in the shop. Neither are they button mushrooms, they’ve generally opened by the time we find them, so we must check that maggots have not gotten in by cutting the stem and checking for holes.

Mushroom soup made with full milk is something we all love through the winter. They would go into stews, or when fresh would be fried on their backs with a little salt in the cup for extra flavour, or they might just go into a stir-fry, or be roasted with some meat. We eat lots of them when they are fresh … and of course at times we have just too much of them. So they are washed, chopped and frozen in bags. They keep very well in the freezer. I know there are still some there since last year … but they don’t compare to those that are freshly plucked from the ground.

  • In the picture above are not white mushrooms, but some other type of mushrooms that we don’t eat that were growing behind our house a few weeks ago. We have lots of different types of fungi growing mostly in wooded areas here. Of course there are loads of typess that are edible. I think fifty seven in Ireland grow naturally, and many many more around the world.
  • Mushrooms purchased in the shops are invariable grown in climate controlled tunnels. It’s a labour intensive process, where compost is worn out quickly. They’re not grown here much any more, but there used to be lots of mushroom farms around. They mostly come from Eastern Europe or Asia now, because it’s cheaper for the consumer.
  • Below is a nice time-lapse video of a mushroom opening. I had been looking for a video on white mushrooms, but most of them seemed to be of magic mushrooms. It’s to be expected I suppose.

6 comments so far

  1. nightskyspy on

    i would say it is this dry weather that is responsible for no mushrooms this autumn.

    back then when i would spend some part of my holidays at my grandparents’ (still as a kid), after some nice warm autumn rain, we woould go out into the field and the meadow in search of mushrooms. they would be plenty. i had problems finding them sometimes since they hid so well in the grass. it was always fun to find them. we would add them to scrambled eggs with onions too hmmmm. mniam mniam.

    well, i used the word mushroom here but i should have add table in front. TABLE MUSHROOM. in polish we call them pieczarki (sg. pieczarka). in englih there are table mushrooms, chevalier mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, birch bolete mushroom, (the word mushroom occurs in every mushroom name). in polish, we would say pieczarka, gąska, borowik, kozak respectively. no word mushroom – grzyb – anywhere. it is all down to differences between the two languages but it is just noticeable.

    good link here: http://www.grzyby.pl/

  2. nightskyspy on

    as an afterthought, we have a saying in Polish: “they spring up like mushrooms after rain” (jak grzyby po deszczu). this nicely explains lack of mushrooms now.

  3. Laurie on

    i agree with nightsky, that mushrooms need rain. we had an abundance of them in our yard two years ago, after a tree fell down. they sprang up where the stump had been.

    i used to collect puffballs when i was backpacking and fry them with eggs for breakfast. i’m not confident of identifying any other kind.

  4. rough hands on

    nightsky: Ahhhhh onions, the one thing i really hate, but with eggs, tomatoes and paprica mmmmm.
    They are hard to find alright, and it’s nice to search for them in the grass when you have time, because each one you find is like a little treasure. It would have rotted back into the ground in no time had one not found it. You’re probably right about the lack of rain. You’re probably right about the rain too. Here, when the temperature drops suddenly (which is kinda needed for the mushrooms to get going) it usually means that there is a cold front passing over us … and a cold front for us invariably means rain from the atlantic. cold rain too.

    laurie: I’m not used to puffballs, but about four years ago, there were a few that resembled puffballs, in a spot where cow dung was stored years ago. They were about a foot in diameter, so i sliced and disected one, but never recorded what i found. i was unsure about identifying that too, so i decided it was better not to try to eat it.

    Ha! click HERE to see some funny things you can do with giant puffballs.

  5. laurie on

    wow, those look like unbaked loaves of irish bread. (i use white flour for my irish bread.)

    my puffballs are much, much smaller than that.

  6. rough hands on

    They look big and heavy at first, but they are as light as a feather when you do lift them up.
    Yes, they look really white, though mine were a a very pale shade of brown. Hmmmm, maybe the fairies used brown flower to make my puffballs.

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