My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Scouring the Forests, Fields, & Fairways in Search of Wild Mushrooms

The Welsh countryside is populated with dozens of delightfully nutritious fungi, and plants, the likes of which our ancestors have enjoyed for eons. One popular specimen of mushrooms, Parasol is particularly delectable, much like The Hedgehog Fungus, and the Cauliflower Fungus. There is a widely held view that eating the wrong mushrooms will lead to your demise, and indeed caution is the order of the day. Though know which one to pick, the most toxic of all the mushrooms in the Welsh countryside is the Destroying Angel. One bite of this may be your last.

Wales is known as a gorgeous, picturesque, fertile country filled with beautiful fauna and flora. Among the most desirable naturally growing mushrooms in the woodlands, fields, and pastures are the Cepes. These pair beautifully with fine wine, and a savory meal. Whether you’re looking to enjoy an Italian dish baked to perfection with mushrooms, quiche with mushrooms, or even a succulent mushroom soup, there’s no shortage of delicious mushroom-styled menu items. There is a new culinary zeitgeist encompassing the Locavore Movement which has taken root in Wales, and elsewhere.

Self-anointed chefs and the Real McCoy are living and working closer to their food sources and preparation areas. The Welsh gastronomy is alive and well, and the mushrooms are growing wild.

The Healing & Curative Properties of Mushrooms 

There is another particular type of mushroom – The Turkeytail (Enw gwyddonol: Trametes versicolor) which is particularly appealing in the north region of Wales. It has a cap diameter of 4 cm – 10 cm and grows wild around the year. This hardy fungus tends to grow in striated layers of dead wood, Oak, Hardwood, or Beach will suffice.

These fungi derive their nutrients from various types of organic matter, unlike photosynthesis in plants. The actual mushrooms that we see above ground are the result of an intricate network of filaments known as hyphae. Turkey tail mushroom benefits are numerous and extend well beyond their appealing taste and aroma.

Among those in the know – mushroom aficionados – what makes them such an utterly prized menu item really boils down to four elements:

  • Turkey Tail mushrooms are 100% safe to eat, even in relatively high doses. However, if you have a pre-existing allergy to mushrooms, consuming these tasty wonders may not be wise.
  • They are an excellent food for diabetics and those who have known insulin resistance. Since they have the propensity to promote glucose utilization, they can lower blood glucose levels which is beneficial to diabetics. Too much blood glucose can also contribute towards fatigue, and the consumption of these mushrooms can lower blood glucose levels and improve physical performance and mental acuity.
  • Gastrointestinal problems are a concern for a great many people around the world. The immune system’s central command is the gut. Fortunately, consuming Turkey Tail mushrooms can bring about greatly improved gut health which can help to promote a much healthier immune system. There are those who say that these mushrooms have antibacterial properties, preventing the growth of Shigella and E. coli. That’s always good to know.
  • There are many tasty superfoods that are geared towards combating cancer. Turkey tail mushrooms are filled with polysaccharides which are known to inhibit cancer cell growth. By starving the cancer cells, they are less likely to reproduce.

Why Mushrooms?

Mushrooms are part of the family known as fungi. They play an integral role in the maintenance of a balanced ecosystem. Mushrooms actually recycle all the nutrients from decaying organic matter and dead organic matter. They are typically widespread, and their natural habitat is woodlands, in the forests of Wales.

This particular mushroom – the Turkey Tail is known as a bracket fungus. It grows in semicircular caps on the base of tree trunks. These durable, thin caps are smooth and clear. They typically come in a variety of colors, including black, purple, green, grey, yellow, or brown mixes. The outer margins of these mushrooms are always pale, sometimes white, or even cream.