Immersion 28, April 20th, 2014. Fascinating fungi.


Wow what a week!
I found my first Porcini mushroom, got to recognise and taste Boletus edulis (Birch Bolete of which I understand the ‘Porcini’ is a family member) ate regularly from two mushroom circles,

The common mushroom
gathered the largest Amanita I have ever seen and discovered a large area of what I think are Psilocybin’s (Liberty caps) AND I have just eaten thick slices of giant puffballs, sautéed in a little butter and garlic until browned on both sides. It is hard to believe anything could be that delicious.


Turkey tails and plate fungi also add to the selection on my table.

Turkey Tails
I didn’t realise that Porcini’s grew in New Zealand, they and the Bolete family are different from other fungi in that they do not have gills – they have a spongy texture.

The surface of these (according to Margaret Balogh from the Wanaka Wellness Centre and Fungi queen) is more dry than slimy/moist, the surface is also raised. They are often found along with the Amanita’s under Birch trees.

DON”T EAT Amanita’s. They are interesting to have around, mysterious beings, fairy houses, textured and bright orange/red. I got a lot of pleasure just looking at it on my table.

Amanita muscaria
The liberty caps I think are more tricky than mysterious and it is written, have the ability to affect the way you see the world for many months if consumed. These need proper identification as well, remember more plant people die from eating the wrong fungi that any other species.
(NOTE: Not Identified by spores)

As for the Giant Puffball – I just want to know how to cultivate them. It is important to eat these before there is any browning in the centre.

I have talked in an earlier Blog about the importance of Fungi in the world – we wouldn’t be here if there were no fungi. They really are the most efficient recyclers, regenerators, rejuvenators and remediators. It is thought that plants got their idea of roots from fungi and they have a communicating relationship with the fungal mycelium, linking one plant with another.

We affect several kilometres of fungal mycelium every step we take.

Fungi nutrients
It seems from the research that fungi do contain Vitamin B12 in reasonable levels. One study questions whether this is due to the bacteria on the surface. A scanning of the research also suggests that they have a range of B group vitamins including folate. They contain small amounts of a range of minerals, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Iron and Zinc and approximately 3g per 100g of protein, likely incomplete.
We, in our local communities, need to know more about which local ones are safe and those to leave well alone. I am now learning about parts and keys to identifying. The latter includes spore collection.

A pergola is being constructed onto the ‘Herb Room’, I investigate ‘Hempcrete’, (thank you to Nelle Rose). I like that it is inherently an insulation as well as being both outside and inside. It doesn’t burn and the Carbon print is small compared to other building materials. The Grand designs presenter Kevin McCleod says it is the building material of the future.

Apples are dripping off trees here and I make a delicious Apple Chutney. Simple to make, any apple will do.

Apple Chutney
For 4, 250ml jars I peeled and diced about 10-12 small to medium sized apples and 3 medium sized onions also diced. I added approx a cup of currants (didn’t have raisins), 300g of brown sugar, 3 tsp mustard seeds and 3 tsp ground ginger and 700mls of organic apple cider vinegar and 1tsp salt. These I simmered until soft and thick – approx 1 hour. Spooned hot into jars and sealed this is very delicious with cheese on a cracker.
I use far less sugar that most recipes, it does make for a more sour to the ‘sweet and sour’ taste.

Travel plans
I will be in North America this June offering several workshop in Toronto, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Seattle. I will give details in a separate Blog.

To register for the course ‘The Traditions, Art and Science of Herbal Medicine’ – a new 6 month on-ground course begins in October, or any other units go to or contact me on

Maybe Next Post: Travel then Autumn roots and vinegars…

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1 Response to Immersion 28, April 20th, 2014. Fascinating fungi.

  1. Cush says:

    Lovely to read about your building/planning progress for Viriditas. Are you planning on using solar as well? Have you heard about the application of using the ground beneath your foundations as a solar bank (like a massive night store)? My husband has investigated this in detail for our future place. I managed to find this example on the net however Dave could probably tell you more about it.

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