02 November 2009

Dining on lawyers' wigs

I've been away for a week and the weather has been damp. This has brought forth a respectable crop of mushrooms in the grass of the orchard. These are shaggy ink caps - also known as shaggy manes or lawyers' wigs (Coprinus comatus) - which gradually dissolve into a black ink as they mature in a process known as deliquescence. The ones in the foreground are young specimens, while those behind them are beginning to deteriorate at their bottom edges.

In this photograph, the inky cap is well on its way to disintegration.

The mushrooms are edible, but you have to eat them shortly after they've been picked as they will start to deliquesce* once they are harvested. They don't have the same nasty side effects as common ink cap mushrooms (Coprinopsis atramentaria), which make you ill if you consume alcohol(!). I'm planning to pick some lawyers' wigs for supper tonight. This will be my first ever attempt at eating wild mushrooms. Hoping it won't be my last...

*I think this qualifies as my favourite new word of the week.


Linda said...

Snap ... I just took some photos of ink caps today too. Thanks for the added info. Hope you have a tasty meal.

Northern Beauty Seeker said...

I love the name 'lawyer's wigs' - hope they were delicious!

Kiyi Kiyi said...

Neat! I hope your supper was yummy.
We picked some of these this last summer.
You must live some where nice and warm - everything is frozen here :(

Ellen Zachos said...

You picked a good one to start with: easy to i.d., and very tasty. I only found two this year and I envy your harvest.