Mushrooms — a field guide
Blewit (Clitocybe nuda)
Named for their bluish complexion (the word is allegedly an Old English contraction of “blue hat”), these ’shrooms are best when they’re young, firm and colored. They lose their complexion, becoming pale and less tasty as they grow older.
Giant Puffballs (Calvatia gigantea)
Giant Puffball mushrooms may look like they’re made from cheap white Styrofoam — they can even grow to be the size of beach balls — but they are a “choice edible,” according to Brill and delicious when sautéed, steamed, or baked.
Hen-of-the-woods (Grifola frondosa)
Also known as maitakes, these fungi grow at the base of deciduous trees and can fetch upwards of $18 per pound at the supermarket or the health food store. They’re said to strengthen the immune system and ward off cancer, but they’re also just plain delicious.
Wine-cap Stropharia (Stropharia rugosoannulata)
These mushrooms have a red and brown cap and grow in wood-chips. They are often distinguished by threads of white fungus at their base, according to Brill and delicious when cooked with olive oil and lemon.
Attention foodies: foraging for mushrooms is the ultimate in eating local, so why not walk right past the greenmarket — where the fancy fungi go for exorbitant prices — and into Prospect Park to find your own? Here are four mushrooms you can find in the park, according to expert forager “Wildman” Steve Brill:
— Eli Rosenberg
Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018