What alternatives should you consider using during World Meat Free Week?

Top tips on seasonal mushrooms from NCOTY sponsor, Mash

Plant-based dishes are on the rise, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, or just looking to reduce meat content. Wild mushrooms are an excellent meat substitute or base for a plant-based dish due to their rich, delicious umami flavour. Working with our in-house wild and foraged expert, we’ve compiled all the info you need to know on the most seasonal wild mushrooms right now!

Mousseron

Latin name: Marasmius Oreades

Alternative names: Fairy Ring Champignon/ Bonnet Mushroom

Culinary uses: Dried/ Pickled

Translated, the name “Mousseron” means “growing on moss”. Unlike many other soil-dwelling fungi the Mousseron can grow on both live and decaying wood, and as its alternative name suggests, it appears in rings which grow larger each year, fruiting at the outer edge. The pattern is created when the mycelia, the portion of the mushroom living underground, grows outward from the centre, robbing the soil of nutrients as it does so. Although small in stature the Mousseron is big on flavour and has a richness which is not dissimilar to a Cep. The stems can occasionally be tough and therefore the caps are sometimes harvested on their own. Particularly favoured by the French, Mousserons appear in the spring before the second flush in autumn, making it a handy seasonal go-to as well as lending themselves to both drying and pickling.

Morel

Latin name: Morchella Esculenta / Morchella Elata

Alternative names: None Known

Culinary uses:  Frozen/ Dried

Turkish Morels

The joys of spring are plentiful, but it is probably the lure of the morel more than any other fungi that is likely to draw mushroom hunters to the woodland, grassland and scrub in the early spring months. One of the most sought-after wild fungi, the Morel, is the king of spring! Once likely to be found on the sights of old forest fires, they are now embracing the hustle and bustle of city life and are just as, if not more likely to be found in your garden, compost heap or on wasteland. Few mushrooms command a price tag comparable to that of the morel due to their high epicurean standing. Whether sautéed, braised, stuffed or otherwise, these beautiful honeycomb structured fungi are an edible delicacy.

Cep

Latin name: Boletus Edulis

Alternative names: Penny Bun, Porcini

Culinary uses: Raw/ Frozen/ Dried/ Pickled

The most significant and highly prized of all the edible wild mushrooms, the almighty Cep is as delicious as it is versatile. Its reputation for being an edible delicacy means that throughout the autumn months the forests bristle with the sound of cep hunters scouring pine, birch, beech and oak trees for this substantial mushroom. Nutty, rich and meaty describe the taste and as well as a wide variety of cooking techniques, Ceps can be eaten raw and also preserve fantastically well, either frozen, dried, pickled or stored under oil.

Scottish Girolle

Latin name: Cantharellus Cibarius

Alternative names: None Known

Culinary uses: Frozen/ Dried/ Pickled

Scotish Girolles Cropped

Although the term “Girolle” is the French translation of Chanterelle, in this instance we’re referring to one of the British Isles most cherished wild edibles: the Scottish Girolle. As July approaches we wait with baited breath for the first yellow buttons to appear amongst the beech, birch and pine. Much like appellation in wine terms, these golden treasures with their heady, apricot-like aroma and fruity, peppery taste are a product of their terroir and are, in our opinion, the best tasting of all the Cantharellus Cibarius’. No other genus or locality of girolle can match the Scottish for the exquisite flavour, which persists even after long cooking, and it’s most pleasing of textures. The best way to prepare them is as simply as possible, although they can also be pickled and frozen very effectively.

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