Eating wild food: The challenges & benefits

Full-day Fungi Identification Workshop (including cooking and preserving information), and a wild lunch. ASHDOWN FOREST, EAST SUSSEX. Nov 14th, and 15th

Forest Row (ish), East Sussex. Exact location emailed 3 days before course.


Note: Covid 19 course adaptions. Places are limited to 10 participants to allow for ease of maintaining personal distance. Hand sanitizer and disposable gloves available for use when and if appropriate.

Suitable for those with both beginner or intermediate level fungi knowledge. Also includes more advanced cooking/preservation methods.

Beginning at 10 am and concluding around 4 pm, we will be foraging in different fungal habitats, for example, woodlands of various kinds as well as grassland (exact locations will depend on the quality/quantity of available fungi I spot when doing a recce the day before). The aim is to provide a general introduction to seasonally available fungi, how to harvest them sustainably and how to utilize them as food and medicine, as well as how to recognise and avoid poisonous species. I will also introduce, with hands-on examples in some cases, how to use fungi for other purposes such as painting, dyeing, ink making, paper making. You will taste a number of different mushroom prouducts during the day, for example, canied fungi, pickled fungi, lacto-fermented fungi, liquid mushroom seasoning, mushroom cookies etc.

In terms of non-food related fungi uses, whether you have children or not, such an added exploration is a really positive way to introduce fungi to them, bypassing the mycophobic culture of fear that abides in British culture. A ‘simple’ wild-food-based lunch (delicious soup with homemade sourough bread) will be provided (but feel free to bring extras of course. We will also work with some excellent fungi identification keys, as well as a range of guide books. Much of fungi identification using the naked eye rather than microscopes (that is, identification in the field metaphorically and literally) is about a balance of probabilities that point to a particular species. The keys that we will use are excellent ones that, if used, will greatly aid your on-going confidence in beginning to accurately and systematically correctly identify a particular fungus down to genus level whilst out on your own.

This is a late season course, at the transitional time when the bulk of autumn fungi fruiting bodies for most species are on the wane, yet it is also that exciting time when species stimulated by the colder and frostier days begin to appear.

Key points

Recommended Apparel

Warm cloths, good walking boots, and a full set of waterproofs recommended.