Q: What is the largest living organism in the world? 

A key sign that local mushrooms are at their peak season, is the arrival of the wild mushrooms at the markets. Mushrooms traditionally flourish following the onset of Autumn rains in Australia and after a wet summer in NSW they are already at the markets and great eating. 



The most common mushroom variety in Oz, Agaricus mushrooms are commonly sold by developmental stage rather than variety and are available all year round.

BUTTON (aka Champignon):

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Youngest stage, it is tightly closed at stem, very firm and has a mild flavour which intensifies with cooking. Picked for stage of development, not size and can outsize cups

Best Use: Firm and hold shape well when cooked, great fresh in salads 



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Most versatile, slightly open at stem to show a little gill, rich flavour and colour

Best use: Very versatile, stuff, slice, dice into soups, casseroles and sauces



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Mature mushroom with flat cup and highly visible gills. These have a more intense flavour, meaty texture and rich colour

Best use: Best cooked. Think tempura, tapenades and roasting


There are two strains of Agaricus Bisporus commonly available:


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Preferred by supermarkets. White mushrooms are a mutant strain (identified in 1926) that gained popularity due to their clean, fresh look and light mushroom flavour


SWISS BROWN (aka Honey Brown, Roman Brown, Italian Brown, Crimini): 

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 Swiss Brown appear much the same as their white kin, however they are tan-dark brown in colour. They also differ in flavour with a deeper, earthier mushroom taste which is suited to risottos, antipasto platters and casseroles 

PORTABELLA: aka Portobello, Portabello 

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The Portabella is a ‘Swiss Brown’ that has matured to the ‘flat’ stage of development. They are large, meaty, earthy and a fantastic substitute for meat on the BBQ

Best use: Grill, roast, BBQ


WILD PINE MUSHROOMS: aka Saffron Milk Caps, Orange Fly Caps

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A fleeting Autumn crop, fresh Wild Pine Mushrooms are highly valued by food lovers. Locally produced in pine plantations, these are identifiable by their saffron-light brown cap, gills and short stem. They have a firm texture and a lovely spicy, nut flavour. Be sure to remove stems before use

Best use: When young and tender they are great in fresh pasta and omelettes. As they get older they get tougher, and are best suited to slow cooking in sauces and casseroles



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A late Autumn crop the Slippery Jack is hard to come by but valued for their delicate texture and strong flavour. They have a chestnut-brown cap characterised by its slimy wet appearance and a yellow spongy underside. It is best to peel Slippery Jacks as the slimy cap can cause gastric upset 

Best use: Cooked when very fresh. Good for soups, frying or stewing

To get the most of the mushroom season we can only hope the rain eases. For while mushrooms need a good rain to get going, excessive rain can affect quality and in the case of wild varieties prevent access to crops and therefore limit supply.

A: It’s not the blue whale, but rather a Honey Mushroom colony that covers a staggering 8.9km² area of Malheur National Forest in Oregon, USA. Proven to be the same organism through DNA testing, the colony is believed to be over 2,400 years old and still growing. The organism is a parasitic fungus that grows on tree roots and spreads via shoestring like tendrils, it is identifiable by its yellow capped mushrooms and the swathe of dead trees it leaves in its wake