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Mushrooms: River Cottage Handbook No.1 Hardcover – 3 Sep 2007
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He gives plenty of vital tips about identifying different species and how not to poison yourself. -- BBC Country File
It is by far the best book on recognising and eating wild mushrooms that has ever been written. -- British Wildlife
This new book on mushrooms is one of the best I have read. -- Highland News
In the first of an exciting new "River Cottage Handbook" series, mycologist John Wright explains the ins and outs of collecting, including relevant UK laws, conservation notes, practical tips and identification techniques. He takes us through the 72 species we are most likely to come across during forays in Britain's forests and clearings: old friends the Chanterelle and Cep, as well as a whole colourful host of more unfamiliar names - edible species including the Velvet Shank, the Horn of Plenty, the Amethyst Deceiver, the Giant Puffball and the Chicken in the Woods, and poisonous types such as the Sickener, the Death Cap and the Destroying Angel.The handbook is completed by more than 30 simple and delicious mushroom recipes from the River Cottage team. With colour photographs throughout, line drawings, a user-friendly Key and an introduction by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, "The River Cottage Mushroom" Handbook is a comprehensive and collectable guide, destined to be an indispensable household reference.See all Product description
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I recently picked and cooked a load of Velvet Shank mushrooms after consulting this guide, and they were delicious with garlic butter and a couple of slices of toast. The book is well laid out, with ample pictorial support and information on both edible mushrooms and poisonous toadstools; chatty and engaging, the compilers have obviously put plenty of thought into the production of this tome, and I for one am a convert.
Not only does it show a majority of the edible and poisonous mushrooms but also gives you recipes which are very nice.
I've been able to identify loads of mushrooms and our pantry is full of jars of all different types.
My only critique would be I'd of preferred to have more photos from different angles along with cross sections as many mushrooms do look similar.
However I would def recommend this!
The book is definitely not a comprehensive field guide. It restricts itself to 60-some readily identifiable edible species and a smaller number of the unpleasant-to-deadly fungi that must be avoided. Of particular value to the beginning fungi forager is the fact that the description of each edible species identifies any similar-looking poisonous fungi that might be gathered by mistake and gives a cross-reference to the book's detailed description of the poisonous species.
While the author makes clear the inherent risks of eating wild fungi and recommends cross-checking in multiple sources, the book is sufficiently clear and comprehensive within its range to give you the confidence to pick and eat your first foraged mushroom. Additionally, the text makes clear that some of the species are very easy to identify, while others take more experience to be sure of. Our four first-year mushrooms were all in that easy to identify category. But now, with a year's worth of puzzling over the various attributes of many fungi, we feel ready to branch out into the next category of the not-quite-so-easy-to identify.
And, of course, as other reviews have pointed out, this book is wonderfully written - full of wit and humour as well as sound advice. I have re-read most of it several times. and each time I learn a little more and still chuckle at some of the humour.
My wife and I take regular country walks and on the most recent I came across what I believed to be ceps. With this little book I was able to clearly identify the said mushroom and harvest same. We ate them for dinner, tossed in a little butter with crushed garlic on toast.
Yesterday we came home with a small basket from which we made the most delicious mushroom soup, following the recipe on page 204.
The River Cottage Handbook has given me the inspiration and knowledge to collect fungi.
Buy it, carry it in your coat pocket or glove compartment and harvest nature's riches.