Monday, October 6, 2008

Shaggy Mane Dye Job


Shaggy mane refers not to a hairstyle, but to another common wild mushroom. I took the photo of these Shaggy Manes about a week ago, when leaves were just beginning to turn. The foliage scenery is now exceptional at this time in central Vermont. If you find mushrooms in your autumnal stroll, remember to get advice from an expert. Do not try to ascertain an edible mushroom from a photo, no matter how nice it is. Photos and illustrations are simply tools for learning. Even an expert mycology site like American Mushrooms has this warning throughout. Coprinus comatus appears white when young, and disintegrates into a black goo as it ages. It is long, cylindrical, and in the family of inky caps, along with Coprinopsis atramentaria. This is another common edible usually found nearby in our area, and around the same time in late summer and early fall. Of these two types of mushrooms, Chef Ted prefers the former. Pick while still young, firm and white. When saute├ęd Chef Ted says the shaggy mane gives off less liquid than the darker inky cap, but he still prefers to use it only in soups or sauces as it taints. For him this dye job is not the answer.