Oh my gosh you guys. I’m a little bit excited, because Milkwood has featured my foray into the world of mushroom cultivation on their wonderful blog. So you should totally head to http://www.milkwood.net and check it out. Then come eat some mushroom risotto with me in my caravan. You bring the wine, kay?
In other news, this week I went hiking in search of the ghost fungus, Omphalotus nidiformis. It’s a bioluminescent mushroom that is endemic to our local area. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. A glow-in-the-dark mushroom in my very own backyard? I had to find it. And cultivate it. And have jars of glow-in-the-dark goodness. I was having sciencey palpitations just thinking about it.
It looks like an ordinary oyster mushroom by day, but at night, it looks like this:
I mean, come on. It’s gorgeous. It’s amazing.
Anyway! I went on the hunt. I clambered along creek beds, fought with leeches, traipsed in old waterways, and found lots of mycelial magic. But the prize was a sample of the ghost fungus. I carefully took it back to the lab and waited for nightfall. Would it glow? Or was it just a normal, ordinary, oyster mushroom leading me on? People, IT GLOWED. I promptly whipped up some malt extract agar and got culturing. Hopefully I’ll be able to bring you some unique night lights over the next month.
While it looks like an edible oyster mushroom, don’t put it in your face. It would be decidedly unpleasant and require a hospital visit. So don’t do that.
“But I want to eat mushrooms, not just look at them!” I hear you plead. Luckily, I’ve got you covered. My adventures also led me to a secret chanterelle patch, right in my very own 100-acre backyard. Now, this mushroom is seriously elusive. In Europe, the chanterelle is a seriously prized gourmet wild mushroom. It can’t be cultivated because it grows in association with the roots of particular trees. Because Australia is awesome, we happen to have a native species that loves to hang out with various Eucalypts. They’re only around in the late summer and early autumn, are golden, and smell like apricots. That’s Cantharellus cibarius var. australiensis for you.
The sad news – I’m not going to over-exploit this little patch. I’m going to look after it and see how it does this season. In the meantime though, you should get some phoenix oyster mushrooms on your fork. Check out @miltonmushrooms for availability. They are seriously good in a stiry fry, risotto, or with your morning eggs on toast.
See you all soon!