Wood Blewit, also known as the purple nudist mushroom, is a wild mushroom species that is highly sought after by foragers and food enthusiasts alike. It is a medium-sized mushroom that typically ranges from 5 to 15 cm in diameter, with a vibrant purple cap and gills. The stem is often thicker at the base and also has a reddish hue. One of the unique features of the Wood Blewit is that it lacks a veil, giving it its nickname as the “nudist mushroom.” In North America, Europe, and Asia, it can be found in woods that are both deciduous and coniferous.
Not only is the Wood Blewit visually striking, but it is also delicious and versatile in the kitchen. It tastes slightly nutty and earthy and has a firm, meaty texture.
It pairs well with a variety of ingredients and can be prepared in a multitude of ways, from sautéing and grilling to adding it to soups and stews. But before eating this fungus, it’s crucial to correctly identify it because several species that look alike can be dangerous. In this guide, we will cover the identification, foraging, and cooking of the Wood Blewit mushroom.
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All About Wood Blewit Mushrooms
Wood Blewit mushrooms (Clitocybe nuda) are a popular edible mushroom found in temperate forests throughout the Northern Hemisphere. They have a distinctive blue-purple cap that is convex when young and flattens out as it matures, and a thick white stem that is often curved or bulbous at the base.
These mushrooms grow in groups or clusters on the forest floor, often near trees or fallen logs. They typically appear in late summer or fall, and can be identified by their unique coloration and the absence of a ring around the stem.
Wood Blewits can be used to a variety of foods, such as soups, stews, and stir-fries, and they have a delicate, nutty flavor. They are not only a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, but also low in calories. Prior to eating mushrooms, it is crucial to correctly identify them because some species may be poisonous.
Wood Blewit Identification
Wood Blewit (Clitocybe nuda) is a type of edible mushroom that is commonly found in the autumn season in wooded areas. Here are some identification points:
The cap of a Wood Blewit mushroom is convex when young, becoming flat or depressed with age. It is typically between 5-15 cm in diameter, and its color can range from lilac to grey-brown.
The gills of a Wood Blewit mushroom are adnate or slightly decurrent, and are usually pale lilac or lavender in color.
The stem of a Wood Blewit mushroom is smooth and cylindrical, and is often the same color as the cap. Its maximum length is 10 cm.
The spore print of a Wood Blewit mushroom is pale pinkish-lilac.
Wood Blewit mushrooms are typically found in deciduous or coniferous woodland, often in clusters.
Wood Blewit mushrooms are typically found in the autumn season, usually from September to November.
Wood Blewit mushrooms have a slightly sweet and fruity odor.
It is significant to highlight that safety depends on accurate identification of mushrooms. It is important to seek an expert if you are doubtful of a mushroom’s identification.
Wood Blewit Look Alikes
Wood Blewits (Lepista nuda) are a popular edible mushroom with a distinctive lilac-blue cap. However, some other mushrooms may resemble Wood Blewits, including the lilac fibrecap (Inocybe geophylla), the blushing Wood Mushroom (Agaricus silvaticus), and the blue-leg (Tricholoma terreum). When foraging for wild mushrooms, it’s crucial to use caution because some species can be harmful or even fatal.
Purple Corts (Cortinarius species)
Purple Corts, also known as Cortinarius species, are a type of mushroom that can be found in forests around the world. Here are some steps to identify them:
- Look for mushrooms with a cap that is deep purple in color and a stem that is whitish or grayish.
- Check the gills under the cap, which should also be a purple color.
- When a mushroom is young, a thin membrane that covers the gills is called the partial veil. It should be a whitish or grayish color.
- Leave the cap, gill-side down, on a sheet of white paper overnight to check for spore prints. The spores should be a rusty brown color.
- When recognizing mushrooms, exercise cautious as some varieties might be dangerous. It’s best to consult with an expert or reference guide before consuming any mushrooms you find in the wild.
Field Blewit (Clitocybe saeva/Lepista saeva)
The Field Blewit, often referred to as Clitocybe saeva or Lepista saeva, is a kind of fungus that can be eaten and is typically found in pastures and grassy fields. It has a distinct violet-grey cap that can grow up to 10cm in diameter, and a stem that is typically 5-8cm long. The mushroom has a delicate texture and a mild nutty flavor, making it a popular ingredient in many culinary dishes. But before eating it, it’s crucial to correctly identify this mushroom because it might be mistaken for other poisonous mushrooms.
The Amethyst Deceiver, also known as Laccaria amethystina, is a tiny, vividly coloured mushroom that can be found in temperate forests all over the world. Its cap is a vivid purple or pinkish color and becomes paler with age, making it difficult to identify. It forms mutualistic relationships with tree roots, helping to exchange nutrients in the soil. It is edible, but due to its small size and lack of substantial flesh, it is not frequently sought after for use in cooking.
Clitocybe tarda is a species of mushroom in the Clitocybe genus, known for its small size and delicate appearance. It has a convex to flat cap that ranges from 1-5 cm in diameter and is pale yellow to cream in color. The stem is also pale yellow and has a cottony texture. It is typically found growing in grassy areas or in deciduous and coniferous forests during the summer and fall months. While it is not considered toxic, it is not widely consumed due to its small size and relatively bland taste.
Wood Blewits Mushroom Recipes
Sure, here’s a recipe for Wood Blewits:
- 1 pound Wood Blewits mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Two cloves of minced garlic
- Add pepper and salt to taste
- Finely minced fresh parsley
- Clean the Wood Blewits mushrooms by gently wiping them with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris.
- The mushrooms should be diced into bite-sized pieces.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.
- Stir in the minced garlic and simmer for approximately a minute, or until fragrant.
- Add the Wood Blewits to the skillet and sauté for 8-10 minutes, until they are tender and golden brown.
- To taste, add salt and pepper.
- Serve the Wood Blewits hot, garnished with chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy!
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FAQs About Wood Blewits Mushroom
In conclusion, the Wood Blewit mushroom is a delicious and versatile edible fungus with a distinctive flavor and texture. Its health benefits and easy cultivation make it a great addition to any mushroom lover’s diet.