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34 responses to “Blewits, Blewits, Everywhere!”

  1. Heather

    I passed this link onto my foraging group. Thanks!

  2. Doriantake

    When I was a kid we’d throw them on the grill – swipe the mushroom caps inside and out with a little butter and sprinkle with salt, toss on the grill until you can’t wait anymore, eat.

    Although that might explain why the only mushroom I ever got sick on was blewits – after doing that on and off all day, must have waited not quite long enough a time to two ;)

    ~M

  3. Island Vittles

    Wonderful info — after reading this, I actually feel confident enough to go out and forage for some blewits on my own, and there aren`t many other mushrooms I can say that about! Too bad about the frost on the ground…I`ll have to wait until next year…Theresa

  4. Jessa

    I really like blewits. They can have a peppery flavor that is very mild, but is a lovely addition to a cream sauce. Last time we picked them (in some serious foot-deep acacia duff in the East Bay), we sauteed them with shallots, then added chicken, white wine, and cream. Tossed in a little lemon thyme and served over pasta. Easy, yes, but super tasty. I love their texture.

    There’s a not-so-good look-alike to the blewit that has a thinner, hollow stem. I forget what they’re called, but we found some of THEM last time we went out for chantarelles. Was a bummer: I picked one up and realized it was an impostor. Boo.

  5. peppergrass

    I’m still learning to tell these from Violet corts, which are a similar color and don’t always look slimy. I’ve so far found one blewit I can firmly ID (pink spore print), but the next day I collected a whole bad (from a different area) and am glad I did another spore print – all rust-colored this time (corts).

  6. Carol

    Lovely photos. Blewits are quite common in the San Gabriel mountains (Los Angeles County), so I was extremely disappointed to discover that I don’t like their flavor! Can’t say why, just that they taste strongly mushroomy in a way that doesn’t agree with me…Going chanterelle hunting tomorrow, can’t wait!

  7. Perry

    Nice Blewit primer! Been finding a lot of them this year in Sonoma county, in some areas they seem to be under every single live oak. I like to put them in nettle soup (sauteed separately and added when serving). They can taste a lot different depending on what you find them under, oak is generally good, ones under cypress can be really bitter. In general I appreciate them, give them a friendly greeting in the field and move on but they can be a welcome find if the chanterelles prove too tricky.

  8. Charlotte K

    Are the English fungi-phobic? What about wonderful mixed grill at breakfast? That usually has some lovely mushrooms.

    The first people I knew who gathered their own field mushrooms were all English (then I met Russians!)

  9. Cork @ Cork's Outdoors

    What dilemmas I have now, Hank: because of your inspiring writing on fungi, I’m no longer just looking at deer, pig and bear tracks to find tablefare, but seeing where a string of mushrooms might lead me, lol!

    With all this great writing on the subject, me thinks the next great book from you might be one on gathering and cooking all these great finds…with an emphasis on variety of cooking as there’re so many on finding…

    Would the blewit work with a darker meat like duck/goose and how would you recommend preparing?

  10. Stephanie - Wasabimon

    The idea of cooking and eating a mushroom that can’t be eaten raw still trips me out. Is there some sort of guideline for *how* cooked it needs to be? I guess I’ll get over the paranoia with time. ;)

    And apparently the word blewit is an Old-English contraction for the term “blue hat.” Interesting!

  11. Bpaul

    Blewits are on my “bucket list” of mushrooms I want to pick. I’m positive I’ve passed them up, but my favorite spots tend to have a lot of Cortinarius, so I was just being careful.

    Thanks for the detailed and excellent set of I.D. prompts.

    Bp

  12. Louis Carlson

    Hank,
    I’ve cooked with them many times, and I’ve found they lose their somewhat slimy texture if you sear them in oil before putting them into your main dish.
    On another note, even commercial mushrooms ( Agaricus bisporus) can cause stomach upset in some people if not cooked (me, for example).
    I also agree with Dave in that they (blewitts) smell (almost exactly) like frozen orange juice to me. YMMV
    PS- They’re really good with wild turkey (meat, not beverage).
    -lcc

  13. ladyflyfsh

    I have heard that blewits are having a banner year this year in your area. Lucky you! I haven’t found blewits in years and rather miss them. Enjoy your prize!

  14. Steph

    Hank- Re not finding violet corts in CA:
    I’ve found purple colored corts (or mushrooms that are *to me* clearly corts, they might be some other mushroom that looks like a cort, with brown spores and the cortina) here in LA, including some that I’ve been sure were blewits until I saw the spore print!

    As for cooking blewits I’ve had no luck… they seem to have a very strong flavor! Like california bay mixed with bitter orange. Maybe I’m burning them out of worry about eating them undercooked… (These are ones found under oak) or maybe the ones I cook are all a little old due to waiting to get a spore print on *every* *single* *mushroom* … (though I give honey mushrooms similar paranoid treatment and never had trouble with them)

    Steph

  15. Michael C

    I just “discovered” blewits last year. I was way slow on the uptake cause I have them all over my property here in Plumas County (mixed black oak and conifer). They start with the first cool weather (early Oct and last until the snow comes). Very tasty and easy to find. Seem to be overlooked by most casual mushroom hunters (like myself). I didn’t realize they were edible until a much more experienced mushroom hunter pointed that out.

  16. Carter

    Hank, just a heads up on the purple corts- I’ve picked and eaten many a blewit and enjoy them when the chanterelles are scarce, but last season around about December, I found a group of 3 – 4 beautiful young blewits near one of my chanterelle patches in the Oakland area (unfortunately vacant on this foray). Were it not for the more experienced buddy I was out picking with, I would have taken them home for dinner. It was only due to the texture and odor that he was able to recognie that what I had were actually genus Cortinarius (species ?). I didn’t bring any home so I missed the opportunity to properly key them out, but I can tell you that they were a dead ringer for blewits. I suppose the spore print would have prevented any harm, but I doubt I would have bothered with a spore print to be honest because I thought that blewits in our area don’t have any real look alikes. Just something to be aware of.

  17. Greg

    Here in the UK, we have a lot of the wood blewitts, but even more of the purple corts. The purple corts here are edible, although not as tasty as the blewitts. I find our purple corts work in a mushroom risotto, with a number of other mushrooms (oysters, hedgehog, honey, blushers). That is not to say you shouldn’t be wary of the purple cort in the States……….

  18. peppergrass

    UPDATE: That day picking nothing but purple corts (and the subsequently revealing spore print) was the best education I could’ve had. Since then my ID skills have improved immensely, and I’ve picked blewits on several occasions and enjoy them very much – in fact they’ve become one of my favorite mushrooms.

  19. Medusa

    Blewits make the v. best cream of mushroom soup; perfect for cold autumn/winter days.

  20. Madnad

    Speaking as an Englishwoman, I can assure you that the English are NOT funghi-phobic. Pretty much everyone I know regularly eats mushrooms of many varieties, some of the even grown their own. I have a few friends that get together and we go foraging together.

    I think the myth we are funghi-phobic is one of those outdated stereotypes that needs to be filed along side stiff upper lips and all wear bowler hats ;)

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  22. mark

    great mushrooms ….do not freeze them after cooking….bad,bad, taste

  23. Tracey

    In the Midland of England, Blewits are eaten with Gammon . Fry your Gammon steak first, then the “Blueys”, then make a gravy with the juices left in the pan. Lovely!

  24. Ildiko

    Enjoyed reading your post! It was the first one that came up when I goggled Blewits. Found some today, and am ready to try them out after I do a spore print to make sure that is what they are. But I think their fragrance gave them away. My first attempt at cooking them.

  25. Dave Everitt

    I have Lepista Sordida (http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/lepista-sordida.php) in my garden, and they’re also edible when cooked. Nice flavour, very similar to Wood Blewits but usually with a curlier cap.

  26. Mr A.E.Walker

    My father was a poacher and gatherer of wild mushroms, also Blewits, which he alway’s called Bluey’s, he mostly cooked them in stews, rabbit,pheasant, partidge, with swede, parsnips carrots onions,shallots, I remember the lovely smell prior to serving was excelent.

  27. andrea

    Some people have mentionned a hollow stemed imposter– what is the proper name of the imposter? i have some Blewitts i found today, and the stems do seem hollow, and the gills more far spaced than some of the pictures i have seen . I am doing a spore print, but am wondering what imposter i should be comparing to? Thanks

  28. davidholmes

    You cannot honestly beat blewitts with egg and bacon for breakfast. Fry them in a little lard with a splash of water and cover for 15-20 minutes whilst grilling the bacon and frying the egg. To finish pore the gravy over and dunk your bread in. Wonderful.

  29. Mark

    I have found Blewitts many times here in California under Oaks after a COLD rain in February. The flavor seems to gets stronger as the mushroom gets older and at some point becomes objectionable to me. Also, bugs and mold love them as they get older so best pick them when they are just breaking the veil and you can barely see them in the leaf litter. The nice color turns to a less appetizing grey as they cook but they do really wonderful in a cream/wine sauce or wild mushroom risotto.

  30. cd

    It sounds like the imposter is Laccaria amethystea-occidentalis or another species of the same genus. According to field guides they’re edible but lacking in flavor.

  31. Dave

    The old way in england is to fry with bacon bits add water and boil for 30mins then add cornflour mixed with a little milk and cook till thickened serve with crusty bread to mop up the gravy.

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