Foraged Mushroom 10: Wood Blewit

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Lepista/Clitocybe nuda

There’s something special about the number 10, it’s an important number for several reasons, not least, our numerical system.
And we love to use it in collections! Top Ten, Ten Most… etc

So naturally, Ten felt significant in my Mushroom journal and number Nine left a certain anticipation in it’s wake…

The lilac tinted Wood Blewit certainly did not disappoint!  

Wood Blewit

I should point out that just because I have only eaten 10 wild mushrooms so far, it doesn’t mean they are the only edible ones I have come across. 
Frustratingly, I’ve no doubt passed many, many mushrooms that are potentially edible but all are “inedible” if you don’t know what they are! 

The last six mushrooms I’ve foraged have been very easy to identify but I had to be more cautious with these, though they’re still a reasonably easy one to identify. 

Lookalikes include the similarly edible Field Blewit (Lepista saeva) which is said to be easier to identify as it only grows on grassland, therefore is less likely to be mixed up with some of the toxic wood dwellers. 
Although (as the name suggests) Wood Blewits are often found in woodland, I actually found these on a grassy hill. 
They are saprobic on leaf litter, so can be found on grass if there are trees nearby.

Lepista nuda

Identification

Part of the reason I recognised the Wood Blewit when I found it is because I spend so much time on Mushroom Groups. When a particular mushroom comes into season you notice a trend in the photographs being shared.

I was still unsure with the mature specimens but when I found some younger ones nestled in the grass, the familiar features jumped out at me and I knew I had just found my tenth edible mushroom! 

Lookalikes

I will confess, I started writing this post ages ago and have been berating myself for getting sidetracked… 
I was planning to write about the “poisonous” Cortinarius species to look out for (aka Webcaps) but during the delay I learned that I had been misinformed. I guess everything happens for a reason! 

It is true that some Webcaps with similar colouring could potentially be mistaken for Blewits to the less experienced forager. Cortinarius purpurascens, (Bruising Webcap) is one such example. It’s not poisonous but is often described as “suspect”, the reason being that there are some deadly poisonous species of webcap so it is generally advised to avoid webcaps altogether!

You are much less likely to confuse a Wood Blewit with one of the toxic cortinarius species though, which are more likely to be mistaken for Chanterelles due to the colour. 

Lepista nuda Wood Blewit

No Room For Doubt

I was very confident that I had Wood Blewits and I was keen to eat them BUT there was still room for a tiny bit of doubt and there must be no doubt when it comes to eating wild plants and mushrooms! 
Even if you’ve got it right, the doubt itself could cause some very unpleasant symptoms if you begin questioning your ID after you’ve eaten them. I didn’t want that. 
If you have checked all the other identification features and are still unsure, a spore print can be useful, which is what I decided to do. 
Blewits have pale pinkish spores. Cortinarius have rusty brown spores (often visible on the stem and cap rim). 
I placed the mushroom caps, gills down, on a piece of tinfoil and left overnight to see the light spore print. Of course it wouldn’t be visible on white paper which is why I used tinfoil but I’ve since heard a great tip which is to use a piece of glass, which you can then place over a light or dark surface to see any colour print!

Wood Blewit

Edibility

Finally, I was ready to eat them! I only picked two small caps as it’s wise to try a small amount when sampling a mushroom for the first time.
Having read that thorough cooking is important, I sautéed them in olive oil over a medium heat, turning occasionally until they turned a rich golden brown.

I served them on top of my Broccoli Garlic Spaghetti, garnished with Herb Robert leaves and Cashew “Parmesan”. 
I know, I know Spaghetti again, but I love spaghetti!! 

Spaghetti alla blewit

Delicious!

I really enjoyed these mushrooms. They might even be my favourite so far… Can’t wait to find some more and have a bigger helping! 
Wood Blewit Spaghetti
Someone told me this looks like a "noodle monster" and I can't unsee it now! 😂

Thanks for reading! 

Have you tasted Wood Blewits? 

Share your thoughts below.

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