A Most A-Peeling Fungus

First let me apologise for the bad pun in the title; I couldn’t resist. In this adventure I discover (and taste) my first ever specimen of the bizarre orange peel fungus (Aleuria aurantia).

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I discovered this brightly coloured fungus while looking out onto grassland from a first floor balcony. It did look very much like a discarded orange peel, but I thought I would check it out nevertheless. My curiosity was rewarded, and so, knowing that this species can be eaten raw, I decided to nibble a little of the edge. It is quite bizarre to eat something that looks like orange peel, has a firm, jelly-like texture and a mild mushroomy taste.

Culinary uses mainly draw on the mushrooms colour rather than flavour, serving it in both green and fruit salads (raw in the former and stewing it with sugar in the latter case). Apparently in France it is eaten raw, sprinkled with sugar and a little kirsch.

It can be found in late summer until Christmas on damp soil, short grass and woodland edges.

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