Thursday, May 15, 2008

shaggy manes

Shaggy Mane mushrooms (Coprinus comatus) and blooming lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) are symbols of spring. However, shaggy manes are also a symbol of fall...

Every spring and every fall I can predictably find edible shaggy mane mushrooms growing in front of the Eyring Science Center at BYU and on the Provo Tabernacle lawn. A week or so after a big rain they can be seen popping up through the bark chips and grass.

Here are some i found and ate just yesterday. (*Forgive me Blaine Furniss, but I have found and eaten these for 2 years)

Shaggy manes are delicious and easy to identify.
They are white and flaky with a tight, cylindric/egg shaped cap that does not open and spread outward. The gills are very delicate and remind me of white fish meat, for some reason.

When I harvest Coprinus comatus for eating, I pull the cap from the stalk and leave it there. The stalks are very tough for structural support so I don't eat them.

See how closed and clean white the gills are?

These mushrooms are also called Inky Caps because when they release spores, the cap disolves into black, spore carrying liquid leaving naked stalks sticking straight up out of the ground.
This is very cool and amazing.
My first experience with Coprinus comatus was 4 years ago when I was just beginning to learn about fungi. I was thrilled to find these huge egg shaped mushrooms at BYU and I took them home to identify. I wanted to make a spore print, so i left them overnight on a piece of paper on my desk. In the morning, I thought my sister had ruined my project because there was "ink" all over the desk and stalks were all that was left of my huge mushrooms. After flipping through mushroom books, it was clear I had the "Inky Cap."

As I said, these are edible mushrooms, but only before they turn pink and then black with mature spores. The specimen below is half-gone already. When i find ones like this, I break off the pink sections and take only white. It's best to find all-white ones.

what i'm keeping (left side) and what i'm leaving (right side).

shaggy mane caps (plus a meadow mushroom sneak) cleaned and ready for cooking.
Note that there are no pink or black (sporulating) sections on these gills.

Shaggy manes must be cooked and eaten almost immediately. You cannot collect these and store them for later because they will turn to ink behind your back.
In addition, they cannot be sauted or baked like other mushrooms because of their high water content; you will have almost nothing left after the water evaporates.
Shaggy manes are best for soups and sauces.

I use Wildman Steve's recipe it has cashews and nutmeg!
Shaggy manes are urban mushrooms and can be found in well watered parks and lawns.
Here are some good links to help you identify them correctly. Once you are familiar with them, they are easy to spot.


Gritty Pretty said...

should i watch to see if the mushrooms in my backyard turn black or pink? do they spoil if i don't pick them at the right time? so far we've been eating them LIKE CRAZY in omelettes, etc. also, can you remind me what they're called?

Tres Jolie Julie said...

These dress designs have nothing in common with the shaggy mane but they are inspired by other mushroom types...

Thought you'd get a kick out of them.

Ariana said...

Hi, I found your blog by searching "Blaine Furniss" in google...

Just FYI, he is currently undergoing very serious treatment for multiple myeloma. He could use some well-wishes! He might not make it...

Anonymous said...

Just a note: I like to dip shags cut in half, dipped in egg, breadcrumbs and pan fried in little oil.


I think after this last pull, they are my favorite!