Between the cool months of February and May Oberon pine tree beds are in peak condition to host some gorgeous hidden sprouts that you can gather.
On a big trip north west, this 2 and a half hour drive out of Sydney is a small little getaway into the quiet towns of the blue mountains. We stopped by the info centre to pick up a map and have a chat about the 2 types of mushrooms we’re able to gather for the day.
On the beautiful drive out of town we stopped by a few different spots and ventured into the huge pine forests.
At first it felt like the forest goes on for miles, and you certainly feel like you can get sucked into the woods and be lost forever.
As we trudged into the pine, the forest floor was covered in a bed of pine leaves and if you look carefully you can sometimes find exactly what you were looking for.
After our chat we immediately recognized what we CAN’T eat. The illustrious fairytale mushroom is pretty to look at but not so pretty to ingest. -AVOID THIS MUSHROOM
The Saffron Milk Caps sit proudly on the bed floor some growing up to 30 cm in diameter, it’s much easier to spot these orange delights amongst the brown pine. Some mushrooms have blemishes of green spotted around the gills but rest assured it’s normal as it stains green when handled.
When cooking the saffron milk caps, it’s best to clean with a damp cloth and further remove the stalk before cooking. We had this mushroom with a touch of butter and parsley, paired with a soft boiled egg on toast. The saffron milk cap is quite meaty and given the size you can almost do a straight replacement for any meat like protein.
The Slippery Jack was sometimes a little harder to find, a unique mushroom with a gooey and slimy brown cap and sponge-like spore underneath. We found that the slippery jack’s congress together as a group most of the time so as soon as you find one, it’s safe to assume that after pushing a few pine needles away you’re bound to find another.
Although not as large as the Saffron milk caps and protruding on the forest bed, the slippery jack’s were often given away as a lump in the pine leaves. As you brush away the first layer of pine leaves, underneath is often a plethora of slippery jacks in prime condition.
The preperation of the slippery jacks were quite meticulous, the brown sticky cap needs to be removed, followed by the spongy pores underneath. What you’re left with is a yellow mushroom that is slightly spongey and is almost reminiscent of dried apples when sliced. The mushroom is naturally gooey when pan fried, similar to the kind of consistency that an okra gives and the texture is spongy like a rehydrated dried apple.
We also dried this particular mushroom as it’s part of the porcini family, drying out the mushroom concentrates the flavour and works beautifully in a pasta or a risotto.
I highly recommend to take a visit up to Oberon and venture into the pine forests after a visit to the visitor centre and soak up the atmosphere as you forage through the forest.
It really is a beautiful getaway out of Sydney in the tranquility of the forest and quiet towns around Oberon and the haul from mushrooming is amazing.
I’ll see you next season Oberon.
Written by Jay Santiago (@eatventures_)