Mushroom Hunting in South Africa is the summation of fact, folklore, education and experience about gathering wild mushrooms at the southern tip of the African continent.
The story starts on a blustery autumn day in Cape Town, 1997. I was 10 years old and set off on a Sunday afternoon adventure with my dad to collect mushrooms in the forest for the first time. A slight problem arises here in that neither of us had a clue what we were doing – a family friend had recently advertised to us that the mushrooms which grow under pine trees are edible, and furthermore, delicious.
Well, after returning home with a haul of red-and-white-spotted mushrooms, amongst others, we quickly learned that our bounty was definitely not for eating. In fact, some of the mushrooms we gathered were just downright toxic. Our saving grace was a mushroom field guide we had borrowed earlier from the local library – we couldn’t have been more fortunate to consult with it before cooking up something dangerous!
That was a humbling experience and valuable lesson to learn which I’m grateful for. It has since paved the way to a keen interest in mushrooms and fungi and I’m still actively learning, collecting and of course eating them!
Never take a chance eating anything you’re unsure of. Especially wild edibles.
It’s a big, wide world out there when it comes to mushrooms. The sheer amount of different types you’re likely to come across during “mushroom season” can be overwhelming, especially to a foraging newcomer, which is why I believe Mushroom Hunting in South Africa helps by narrowing down the scope to a select few species of edible fungi to look out for in various habitats.
Visit Foraging South Africa to learn more about foraging in general.