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Winter Fungi: Velvet Shank

Winter Fungi: Velvet Shank (Flammulina velutipes). Velvet Shank are the wild alternative to the cultivated form, 'Enokitake' that you find in shops (long tall slender stems with tiny white caps, usually sold in tall plastic sheaths)
This readily recognisable fungi is like a ray of golden sunshine amid the generally muted and darker hues of winter - camouflage is not it's strong point. This gregarious and social fungi can be found growing on dead/dying logs & stumps, on a variety of tree species including Beech, Sycamore & Horse Chestnut
Regarding edibility, in my opinion they are top notch & more appealingly so due to the time of year they are found, winter, the hardest season in the foraging calendar. They have a great mushroom flavour with a slight sweetness reminiscent of caramel. 

So, what can you do with them? Fresh, young ones are delightful raw , they can be gently fried in butter, added to broths, pickled & make a great mushroom pate, they also dry well and make a good powder. I've recently added some to vodka to use in boozy cocktails. 

Velvet Pate
Recipe for Velvet Shank & Nettle Seed Pate:
http://edible-leeds.blogspot.co.uk/p/recipes_26.html     








Another great way to utilise Velvets is to lightly pickle them, the following recipe is from, John at Forage London (replace the Winter Chants with Velvets instead): http://www.foragelondon.co.uk/pickled-winter-chanterelle/ 

Please be careful when picking edible fungi. Ensure you're 100% certain of correct id & please don't use the images above as a reference for id'ing.

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