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Mushroom Foraging Tips: September 2022

Our mushroom foraging tips apply to the Cape Town area and other parts of the Western Cape such as George and surrounding areas. They do not necessarily apply to the rest of South Africa.

It’s the start of spring, and Morel season is getting into full swing as temperatures start to warm up. Morels are delicious gourmet mushrooms that are difficult to find, and this combination makes them a forager’s delight! Other mushrooms that may be found in September in the Western Cape are Porcini, Pine Rings, and Granulated Bolete, but we are focusing this month on the sought-after Black Morel.

Black Morels (Morchella elata) are found on rich, well-drained soil under trees or bushes, especially dune cone bushes (Leucodendron coniferum) in the south. They are also sometimes found on burned ground, although some foragers say these fruits are less flavourful.

Morels require careful preparation as they can be a bit gritty, and sometimes have bugs. They need to be well cleaned and thoroughly cooked or dehydrated, being toxic if eaten raw.

Justin Williams opened the door to foraging Morels when he published his e-book, ”Mushroom Hunting in South Africa: A Guide to Edible Wild Mushrooms”. In it, you will find everything you need to know about foraging Morels and other wild mushrooms in South Africa. And we love his Instagram profile – it’s full of interesting finds!

In an interview with the False Bay Echo, Justin noted that the native Morchella that occurs in the Hangklip Sand Fynbos found between Fish Hoek and Cape Agulhas appears to have some kind of mycorrhizal association (a symbiotic association between plant roots and fungi) with dune cone bush (Leucadendron coniferum). He also pointed out that “foraging for mushrooms around Constantia, Newlands and Hout Bay is predominantly good because of the non-native trees introduced from Europe, which also harbour the mycelium (fungal roots) of delicacies such as Porcini (Boletus edulis), Saffron Milk Caps (Lactarius deliciosus) and Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus).” Read more about the interview.

Happy Hunting!

Dehydrated Morels and Porcini are available in our online store.

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