These amazing mushrooms popped up along the property line that shares a fence and a row of cedar trees . They appeared the day after disturbing the soil to ready for new compost. After checking in with the Vancouver Island Mushroom face book page to get their advice on what they thought these mushrooms might be I was able to confirm they are what is called the “Prince” of all mushrooms – Agaricus augustus.
When I was adding compost I didn’t have time to water before going to work. Returning later I noticed what looked to be two potatoes behind the lattice. Immediately I thought someone was playing a joke until getting a closer look. They came through the earth the size of my fist. They still had soil on their tops from pushing through. I searched to identify them on-line however not knowing anything about them this category wasn’t immediately available. This is where the Vancouver Island Mushroom group came in and I can’t express my appreciation enough. With their members support, I was confident that these were Agaricus augustus and edible.
These mushrooms opened fully and flattened on the third morning. It was suggested to pick them asap before any other critters went after them. Critter free and beautiful with light pinkish gills on one and light chocolate coloured on the other. Both smelt like almonds and had a slight almond like flavour. Later getting them ready for the fridge I noticed the fills had turn a dark chocolate colour.
Mixed in with an omelette to taste them and discovered they do live up to their reputation for being the finest of mushrooms!
This garden continues to give us many gifts.
About the “Prince”
What I discovered is that Agaricus augustus grow near conifers located by a road way. They have a skirt like membrane around the stalk and large top that unfolds, spreads and flattens. The tops on the ones growing in my garden grew to 7 inches yet I read they could grow to 12 inches. They started with a yellow hue and light brown scales that looked like a white potato. Before they open they have a deep cavity under the cap that if picked could be stuffed to make a wonder meal. Once they open they are table ready. The gills are a soft pink or brown hue that darken with age. They smell like almonds and when raw have a soft almond like taste that disappeared when cooked.
DO NOT leave them long as you are competing with worms, slugs, snails and maggots. They are a delicacy for them. Luckily I have two nesting Robins taking care of that for me.
Remember to do your research if you are wondering about whether mushrooms are edible or not to ensure you can safely eat them or not. Join a group where you can get support or research thoroughly first. DO NOT assume all mushrooms are edible.
Another unexpected mushroom visitor to my backyard called the “king” in Italy
Mushroom Nutrition and Mushroom Supplements: The Bottom line on Mushroom Health: Agaricus Blazei, Agarikon, Black Trumpet, Turkey Tail, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Maitake, Oyster Mushroom, Poria cocos, Reishi, Shiitake Mushrooms by Mackenzie Logan
Information on foraging mushrooms, their uses and properties are for educational purposes only. Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. If foraging for mushrooms ensure you consult an experienced mushroom forager for information on your mushrooms or for mentoring on what mushrooms are safe and which ones are poisonous. Be smart.