Botanical Name : Armillariella mellea
Common names : Honey Fungus, Stump Mushroom, Stumpie, Pipinky, Pinky.
Physical appearance : The Honey Fungus grows to between 5-12 cm in height. It has a light brown (honey coloured) cap and has yellowish stems growing from black rhizomes which "resemble a network of leather bootlaces". The colour of the cap can vary from yellow to olive brown and are between 2-15cm in diameter. The caps are initially convex and flatten out as they mature. Its gills are creamy white, darkening with age. The Honey Fungus has a shaggy, yellowish ring around the stem, helping with positive identification.
Best places to find : Common throughout woodlands, the Honey Fungus can be found on tree stumps, roots and buried branches.
Edible parts : The caps can be collected whilst they are still young and the gills are still white.
Time of year : From November to January.
Recipe : Honey fungus needs to be cooked before consumption as they can potentially cause stomach upsets in some people with sensitive digestive systems. However, they are still considered "good eating". Blanch for 3-4minutes then fry in butter. Best eaten in small quantities as they can have quite a strong flavour.
Alternative recipe : Add to a stew to give greater depth of flavour.
NB! - Please be sure you know what you are picking, many plants look similar to each other and may be poisonous. If you are unsure, please seek professional instruction! This is especially the case with fungi.
The Bushgear Team
Photos courtesy of Stu's Images and James Sowerby via Commons Attribution Share Alike