Belanglo - Mushroom Foraging

by - May 05, 2017

Mushroom foraging has been a trip that we have been looking forward to for quite some time. It was a hard decision deciding whether to go Belanglo Forest or Oberon Forest, a battle between Belanglo's 'dark history' and the longer drive to Oberon. Finally we settled with Belanglo which is about 1.5 hours drive (one way) form Sydney. The drive was smooth and everything went well as we planned.

Pine mushrooms are in season from March-May.

It was reassuring seeing so many cars on the day (we went on a public holiday).

Saffron Milk Cap
Saffron Milk Cap - A bright orange colour is how you identify these mushrooms. On the cap you'll find a tree ring pattern just like the centre of a log. Underneath the cap there are bright orange gills, these mushrooms tend to get bruised easily when touched. Saffron milk cap tends to leave an orange stain, so it's best to wear gloves when picking them. If the mushroom no longer has bright orange gills and the cap has fully opened, then it's probably best to leave it on the forest floor. Don't worry, there are plenty of mushrooms to pick from!

Slippery Jack
When you find one, you'll find many😀

Slippery Jack - Just like the name suggests, the cap has a slippery sticky surface. Another way to know it's a slippery jack is the distinctive structure under the cap - a sponge-like surface with thousands of tiny little pores (rather than gills like must mushrooms do). We found most of our slippery jacks hiding underneath pine needles, and when they have a nice yellow colour on the sponge that's a good sign that they are fresh (if the pores are dark brown, then they are probably too old and won't taste as nice). 

Saffron milk cap and slippery jack are the only two types of edible mushrooms found in NSW. While foraging for edible mushrooms we also stumbled across many poisonous mushrooms. 

Here are some non-edible mushrooms... and remember "If in doubt, go without". It's never worth risking taking home mushrooms that you are unsure about, so it's best leaving them behind. We didn't touch any mushrooms that we thought might be risky, and also kept a safe distance as the area around it might carry poisonous spores. 

Fly agaric (amanita muscaria)
Adorable, but deadly...

Fly agaric - These little red fellows are the most common poisonous mushrooms we saw in this forest, they were widely spread out across the forest floor. However, due to their distinctive appearance, they can be easily identified as non-edible mushrooms. 

These mushrooms were huge, bigger than my hand...the pattern is fascinating, almost as if the inside is glowing. 

We almost got tricked by these 'fake slippery jacks'...the cap wasn't sticky and instead of pores, they had gills. We ended up disposing the gloves that got in contact with these mushrooms.

We also found some wombat burrows while mushroom foraging...unfortunately we didn't see any wombats apart from the burrows.

Saffron Milk Cap
Slippery Jack
At the end of the day, we foraged a bounty of mushrooms.

Our mushrooms ended up here...
Home made pasta with saffron milk cap & slippery jack 
Pine mushrooms and scrambled eggs on toast
Mushroom stir fry
Making dried mushrooms

What to bring:

  • Food/snacks
  • Water
  • Pocket knives
  • Baskets/buckets/trays (for storing mushrooms)
  • Rubbish bags
  • Gloves
  • Hand wipes
  • Wear long sleeves
  • Spare pair of shoes

Helpful Links:

Address: Belanglo State Forest, Belanglo NSW 2577, Australia

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