Tuesday 4 August 2009

Summer Bounty, Summer Rain

One of the joys of living in the countryside is that of gathering wild foods when in season. A thousand feet up in the Scottish Highlands isn’t perhaps the ideal place for this but one foodstuff that is common in the area is edible fungi, found in the conifer and birch woods. Usually these start to appear during this month with September producing the biggest crop but this year large numbers have appeared very early and for the last three evenings I have dined on delicious chanterelles and birch boletes fried in butter or olive oil with a little tamari and black pepper added. I have to admit that I didn’t collect or cook these fungi myself. They were gathered by my partner Denise and my stepdaughter Hazel and prepared and cooked by Hazel. The early appearance of these fungi appears to be due to the fact that July was very wet, at least in the case of the chanterelle, which produces the most fruiting bodies in wet summers. And July really was wet. Strathspey Weather recorded 122.5mm of rain, which is not only by far the most for any month this year (February is second wettest with 72.2mm) but the most of any month in the nine years of records on the site (the second wettest month was January 2005 with 108.8mm). Whilst the fungi are very welcome I do hope the weather this month will be a little drier.

Photo info: Basket of Chanterelles. Canon EOS 450D, Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS@55mm, 1/500@F8, ISO 100, raw file converted to JPEG in Lightroom 2.4


  1. Wow - those look tasty. I've never had Chanterelles. The fungus and mushrooms are beginning to appear now, as our cool summer is getting wet here in Toronto, Ontario.

    Great photograph too!

    P.S. Any new books out soon, Chris?



  2. Thanks for the comments. The chanterelles are tasty and there's more for tonight!

    Mungo, there'll be a little book in the Classic Munros series out this month, covering Ben Nevis and the Mamores. The next big book should be out next year some time.

  3. I like the contrast of the wicker basket with the smoothness of the mushrooms - lovely - and the colours really stand out.
    It's nice to see a different subject, although the hills will always be my fave - that and looking at all the great kit you have :o)