Expert’s warning to fungi foragers

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A SHEFFIELD wild food expert has issued a health warning to anyone tempted to forage for fungi in the countryside.

Patrick Harding, who lectures at Sheffield University, is warning people to be cautious about picking unusual types of mushrooms.

A growing number of people are now gathering wild produce, with an increase in the number of healthy eating and organic cooking programmes.

But Patrick, who has studied fungi for more than 30 years, said: “You really need to know what you are picking.

“Just because something looks tasty does not mean it will be, and in the worst case scenario you could end up in hospital or worse.”

Out of more than 4,000 species of fungi, only 100 are edible.

As part of his public education drive, Patrick will be running fungi workshops for the Forestry Commission at the end of next month at Sherwood Pines, in Sherwood Forest, near Worksop.

The sessions will include information on how to identify and cook safe species.

As well as teaching at Sheffield University, Patrick teaches at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and has written many fungi guides.

Places are available for Patrick Harding’s Forestry Commission fungi workshops in Sherwood Pines Forest Park.

■ To attend, call the booking line on 01623 822447.