WIld Edible Of The Week - Week 40 "Velvet Shank"

Botanical Name : Flammulina velutipes

Common names : Velvet Shank, Velvet Foot, Winter Fungus

Physical appearance : Orange/yellow caps with curved, velutinous stems which can be yellow to brown in colour. Overall, they are approximately 3-8 cm in height. The cap can be between 2-8cm in diameter and can be sticky and shiny with a honey yellow to orange/red hue. The gills are broad and tan coloured. The Shank's flesh is thin and whitish and should have no odour.

Best places to find : Fairly common throughout British woodlands. Most commonly found on Ash trees but can also be found on Mullberry and Persimon. The Velvet Shank has a good resistance to frosts so can often be found throughout the winter months. This fact helps identify the mushroom as it may be the only fungus around, at this time of year.

Edible parts : The cap is edible after washing off the slightly sticky mucous that often covers it. The slightly woody stems should be discarded. 

Time of year : November to January. Particularly, the fruit of wild cultivars can stay on the tree for a long time.

Recipe : Ideal addition to soups and stews. Best added near the end of meal preparation.

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 funghi!

The Bushgear Team

Photos courtesy of Festive Foraging and Archenzo via Creative Common Licence