Out and about this Autumn? Have a look for Jelly Ears
The trees hear everything… Jelly ears grow on dead or dying Elder but sometimes the mycelium (vegetative part of the fungus) will grow on plywood signposts in the woodland.
The Jelly Ear had its name changed about ten years ago. You will be fascinated by the history of this mushroom and the Elder it grows on. Jelly Ears can be foraged all year round, although the best time to find them is in the Autumn months.
How to use these brilliant Jelly Ears
Pick some from the tree (please don’t take it all so that the spores can spread). Take the fungi home to process immediately otherwise they will “go over”. Process them by either using a dehydrator or simply threading them on a needle and clean thread to dry until they are hard and inflexible.
You will know they are properly dried out by tapping them (they will sound hard when flicked).
Put your dried jelly ears in a food processor and blitz until they are a powder or if you are old school use a pestle and mortar. Place the powder in an air tight container and store in a cool dry place.
When you are making a stew simply add a tablespoon of the dried ear, in the last 20 minutes or so of cooking time. This adds thickness to your stew and a deep mushroom flavour.
One of friends loves to soak their Jelly Ears in Gin and then soak them in chocolate. This is an acquired taste! If you have any interesting uses for this mushroom please let us know by commenting below.
I would thoroughly recommend Mushrooms, by John Wright from the River Cottage Handbooks as a firm foundation to start your mushrooming. John Wright uses simple terminology and clear photographs to help with identification of the mushrooms.
Always Identify any wild food before consumption. ID, ID, then ID again! If you have any questions please post them on here or via our contact page.