Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chestnut, walnut and mushroom picking

There aren't a lot of pick your own farms near where I live, but every April the gates open to a small nut farm in sassafrass, about an hours drive towards nerriga. has a thousand chestnut trees of different varieties, and a few hundred walnuts.

You can drop in on weekends, but have to book for midweek visits. They have prepicked nuts that you can purchase too. 

There's something special about being outside on a brisk autumn day, under the lush green leaves, magical toadstools scattered around, picking fresh chestnuts, then taking them back to the picnic area where the owners have a fire going for you to roast straight away! 

A picnic with friends, sharing yummy food and working up an appetite!

Yet one of the most exciting things was the mushrooms, learning how to recognize and pick the edible varieties growing in the pine windbreak, and collecting a bag full to take home.

I would reccomend only picking mushrooms with an experienced guide to  make sure you avoid ending up in hospital.

Slippery jacks and saffron milk caps, aka pine mushrooms.... Pine mushrooms are orange with concentric circles on the top, and only need to be wiped with a damp cloth to prepare, 

Slippery jacks have a yellow flesh with a brown slightly slimy top, which has to be peeled before cooking.

Sautéed with butter and garlic in toast. My favourites were the pine mushrooms. I might have to go back after it rains next!

The rest are at home waiting for us to get home after church for dinner, with garlic, cream and braised rabbit ala Stephanie Alexander. Just have to chuck some nice pasta on...

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