This blog is a bit later than planned, but I was hunting mushrooms all weekend! This is such a great time of the year for collecting free delicious food in the pine forests around Castelo Branco. But becareful, you have to know what you are doing! It is what they say here, you can eat every kind of mushroom, but there are some you only eat once…. Since we love to pick them and make meals out of them (I just finished a delicious home-made wild mushroom soup), I combined both my mushroom and photography passion to share with you some of the wild mushrooms I found here. At this moment, I know four types of mushrooms that I feel confident picking and eating.
Lactarius deliciosus – Red Pine mushroom – here they call these: Pinheirinhas
Has a carrot orange cap which is convex to vase shaped. The cap is sticky and viscid when wet, but is often dry. It has crowded decurrent gills and a squat orange stipe which is often hollow, 3 to 8 cm (1 to 3 in) long and 1 to 2 cm (0.5 to 1 in) thick. This mushroom stains a deep green color when handled.
They can be found near the older pine trees. It colors your urine the day after!
Hydnum Repandum– Hedgehog -here they call these: Pata de Cabra
Commonly known as the sweet tooth, wood hedgehog or hedgehog mushroom, is an edible mushroom with no poisonous lookalikes. It produces fruit bodies whose cap undersurfaces are covered by hymenophores resembling spines or teeth, and not pores or gills. This mushroom is my favorite to pick because they are tasty and when you find one, you can follow a path of meters long with these mushroom, like it are footprints you follow and you can just keep picking. That is why this mushroom got his name: pata de cabra (goat hoof). I don’t have a recent picture because it is still too early in the year. This is a photo taken last year.
Tricholoma equestre – man on horseback or yellow knight – here they call these: miscaros
A formerly widely eaten but hazardous fungus of the Tricholoma genus that forms ectomycorrhiza with pine trees. Although it is regarded as quite tasty, cases of poisoning from eating T. equestre have been reported. Research has revealed it to have poisonous properties. I personally, had no problems after eating, however I take the advice people give not to eat them a few days in a row
and in huge amounts. You can find hundreds of them in the woods, but you have to look very closely as they are covered with pine needles and dirt. Because of this, it does take some effort to clean them, but it is all worth it!
Yesterday I had the luck of finding these big mushrooms while I was visiting a property. It is found in dune slacks, sandy pine plantations, and sometimes meadows. The specific epithet phaeodisca (“with a dusky disc”), refers to the dark central area of the cap. They way to eat them is grilling with sea salt, a drip of olive oil and some red wine.
This is the picture of yesterday’s meal. Next to it on the right is the mushroom: Tricholoma colossus.
The cap is 6-30 cm wide, brick red – chestnut brown, hemispherical when young, widening later on, uneven, always with very thick meat, surface slightly sticky, decomposing somewhat into scales. My other half found one once of 4,5 kilos! Wikipedia says the taste is horrid, but that is not true! We cut it in small slices, grilled it with some sea salt, and the taste is fantastic! It is like you are eating meat. Great for when you are a vegetarian. Here I am holding one we found.
Now we go to some random pictures I took from edible and non-edible mushrooms. Here stops my knowledge. We did find a magic mushroom! It is still early for them though. When it is the right time, they are very easy to find. Hmmm… maybe a new business opportunity? 😉
One last advice: Don’t go and pick and experiment yourself using these pictures as a reference! There are look-a-like mushrooms that are toxic and deadly!
References: Wikipedia & Online guide of ICNF Portugal. Also downloadable from our free E-library
During our last holiday in Portugal in December on one day Els collected with our daughter a lot of mushrooms in the woods. This type of mushroom, the so called Pata de Cabra, is to be found in the neighbourhood of eucalyptus trees.
Although I read about these mushrooms not being poisonous I was not certain.
When they came back Els wanted to make soup of these fresh mushrooms. I was not really enthousiastic and I went to another village to pick up some things. After cleaning the mushrooms she started to make the soup. When I came back Els had already eaten her mushroom soup. She said: I was hungry and I have already eaten the soup; you can also eat the soup because I am still alive!!!! So, with this information I also took a bowl of this soup and I was definitely positively surprised. It was a delicious and tasty soup, one of the best I ever had!
That is the advantage of spending your holiday in Portugal during the winter. Free, delicious food, and definitely fun to do.
When you write “Magic Mushroom” do you then refer to the Amanita Muscaria (fly agaric) or did you actually manage to find some Psilocybin containing species such as the Psilocybe Semilanceata (Liberty cap) or others? 🙂
Im from Scandinavia where we have a slightly different range of species, but was last autumn out walking in Sintra and found a great variety of shrooms but limited i knew at that point. This year im going to hunt around Cascais, Sintra and perhaps Setubal. Do you by any chance have any indicators for when the peak would be? I know about the weather conditions but feel the shroom season is so short down here compared to up north, so i really want to try hit it spot on this year ^^
Anyway, great read and what a harvest you have there! Looking forward to fill my basked and stomach with all kinds of goodies this year 😀
Hello Chris, yes I was referring to the Amanita Muscaria. I am not aware of any other´magic´species that grow around here. You need wet and cold in order to have a good mushroom season. This weekend, temperature is going to drop and when it is going to rain again, I expect a good harvest for the coming weeks. There are different periods in the year for different species. If the weather allows you can find edible mushrooms for months in a row. Starting now until January/February. Happy hunting but be careful!
Também têm psilocybin shrooms?