Forest Fungi, more than mushrooms
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Hunting for Bush Tucker - Wild Myrtle Oranges

Belinda Clark Wild Mushrooms

Summer means myrtle orange hunting time in Tassie...

Forest Fungi Wild Mushroom CollageIn Tassie, summer is the time for hunting down the mesmerizing Cyttaria gunnii, commonly known as the myrtle orange or beech orange. What an amazing day. Will and I took a road trip to the myrtle forests (Nothofagus cunninghamii) in Tassie - hunting down the myrtle oranges until we found the mother load on the very top of the mountain!  The sweet nectar inside was a very cool welcomed treat for our efforts. These tasty little morsels have to be one of my favourite wild mushrooms for various reasons. One - I love hunting for mushies in myrtle forests, secondly I love reading the signs in the bush to find them. The Cyttaria mycelium forms woody galls on their host trees, from where the perennial crops of fruit are produced. Therefore you are looking for myrtles with galls.

 

Orange Myrtle

Thirdly, they cook up to be rather tasty and unique little morsels. They look great in your dish, keep their beautiful deep orange colour and maintain their crunchy texture. They take on flavours to compliment your dish. Collecting fungi is only permitted on private land in Tasmania. Similar species of Cyttaria also grow in New Zealand and South America, on related Nothofagus trees. All species of Cyttaria are edible, and have been used by local peoples for thousands of years. The mushrooms can actually be collected and fermented into an alcoholic beverage, as they contain up to 15% sugars, as well as cold tolerant Saccharomyces yeasts.  

  Orange Myrtle

In pandani, pencil pine and myrtle forest

golden moon, glowing honey comb treats found

offering sweet summer nectar delight



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