Arguably the biggest celebrity of the foraging world, Wild Garlic is already a bit of a household name, popping up on restaurant menus across the country. You can probably even buy it fresh from a quality greengrocer when it is season in Spring and early Summer. For this product, we preserved some using the lacto-fermention method, which also happens to add depths of flavours and a complexity not found with the fresh plant (FYI lacto-fermentation is the same process that makes gherkins, kimchi, sauerkraut and other tangy pickles. You will even find it in some beers!), before drying it out to create what must be close to the perfect seasoning. A little bit salty, a little bit tangy, plenty of umami and loads of garlic punch!
Sprinkle this liberally wherever you would salt and pepper. Although it will hold its flavour in cooking and heating, we reckon its far better to add this at the very end of preparing your food to keep all those flavour-profiles right at the forefront of the dish. This is one we are particularly proud of so it gives us great pleasure to be able to introduce fellow ‘gastronauts’ to it!
We could rant all day about the merits of undisturbed pastureland and meadows, and how important it is to preserve such habitats, but it would become tedious very quickly and this is hardly the forum for that discussion. If you need any evidence of how rich with life they can be, look no further than the glorious Parasol Mushroom. Growing exclusively in the precious environments of undisturbed meadows and reaching the size of dinner plates, these fantastic fungi can be found across a couple of seasons and are well worth collecting. You needn’t worry about damaging the fungi itself - what you see growing as the mushroom is just the ‘fruit’ of what will be an enormous web of mycellium beneath the surface, so picking a mushroom is just like picking an apple from a tree, leaving no damage to the parent plant/fungi. They often grow in great numbers and a field full of them is an impressive sight, so despite the guilt-free picking that can be had with mushrooms, its always better to leave far more in place than in your basket.
Parasols have your classic mushroom flavour, albeit in a bolder form. The dried form we have sent you will have those flavours intensified and will suit being used where a mushroom stock may be. Start by pouring the contents of the sachet into a bowl and pour over boiling water to just cover the mushrooms. You will immediately see them start to soak up the water and, in turn, will release their amazing aroma and flavours back into the water. You now have a mushroom stock. Use it in risottos, ramens or sauces. Just don’t throw any of it away - use all the liquid and solids in whatever dish you create. We think any new ingredient is best used simply to allow the taste to be highlighted and there is probably no better way of showing these mushrooms off than in a simple consommé (read: clear broth) possibly even garnished with a little sprinkle of sea lettuce!
Species included: Bay Bolete, Larch Bolete, Suede Bolete, Red- Cracked Bolete, Orange Birch Bolete and Brown Birch Bolete
Bolete mushrooms are possibly the most popular family of wild mushrooms. They are relatively easy to identify and are pretty common but, most importantly, they are delicious. The bolete species we’ve included in this mixture are: Bay, Larch, Suede, Red- Cracked, Orange Birch and Brown Birch; all of which have that signature ‘meaty’ flavour that is so highly-prized by chefs across the globe.
To use these dried mushrooms, we suggest soaking them in a little hot water (just enough to cover) and leaving them for a few hours to really infuse into the liquid. When you return to the container, you will be able to smell the aroma of the mushrooms in the liquid (gorgeous, right??) and the mushrooms themselves will have softened. It is at this point that some people strain discard the liquid and just use the soft mushrooms… MADNESS! It’s actually the liquid that is the better ingredient now and should be used in cooking. Despite all that, we suggest chucking the whole lot - liquid and mushrooms - into your meal. Stir fries, stews, gravies, risottos and anything else requiring the inclusion of stock is perfect. To keep it simple, a little softened onion and celery with this beautiful stock poured over the top makes a banging lunchtime soup.
As with all wild mushrooms, this needs to be cooked before consuming.