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cibi

Foraging in urban areas.

It seems like most of you live in or within easy access of the countryside, lucky you. Wink I live in the middle of Glasgow and I don't have a car, so most of my foraging is done by cycling 1h or two, but as the wet Scottish winter draws in I started looking in parks. There are small parks that I wouldn't go to because they're surrounded by quite busy roads and/or on old industrial sites, but other one that are old and big enough to find untouched and very quiet areas (where I found my first wood blewits).

But how safe is it to pick up mushrooms, bays and nuts in parks? Is the urban location enough to make the yield polluted by fumes etc?

I'd appreciate your opinion and advice, thanks
Behemoth

My allotment's in the middle of the city and I eat everything off it. Plenty of stuff grows alongside M-ways and A roads. There have been scares in the past but I think they were mainly to do with lead from petrol in the 70's. As long as it gets a good wash I wouldn't overly worry.
cab

I'm with Behemoth.

I've eaten shrooms from the park by the Peoples Palace and Japanese Knotweed from the banks of the Clyde. I think that its worth avoiding any sites that are obviously contaminated, of course, but otherwise I don't see any obvious danger here.

Big discussion on this way, way back. Its wordy, but there are some good links in there and some informative discussion:

http://forum.downsizer.net/viewtopic.php?t=5507
doctoral

Ditto. Unless mushrooms are close enough to the road to get wet and muddy every time a car splashes through the nearest puddle, I take them home and eat them.
2steps

I live in a largish town and pick in the parks and we have a few woods nearby. I don't pick from right near roads and would wash anything I was unsure about. we have a fairly busy road close to our garden (a church hall between us and it) and have always eaten everything grown in the garden with no problems
dpack

i avoid leafy greens from busy roads (lead legacy)and dont eat owt from ex smelters/chemical works/blatantly sick looking land but as i live in a town i forage in brownfield sites ,fish an urban and not quite ex industrial rivers as well as dining from parks ,verges etc
use common sense and it will be fine ,good forage is to found in some unlikly places ( even ornamental plantings (quince ,cherries ,rosemary etc )often are edible Wink )
plenty of edible critters as well .
happy searching
pizza

I live in London and I regularly get baskets of mushrooms from my local park. To be honest I'm more worried about dog mess and all that.

Also somebody said that mushrooms may still be holding onto some of Chernobyl's rubbish in Europe. I don't know if that's an urban legend.
cab

pizza wrote:

Also somebody said that mushrooms may still be holding onto some of Chernobyl's rubbish in Europe. I don't know if that's an urban legend.


I believe there are still restrictions on livestock in some parts of South West Scotland, Cumbria and Wales, so presumably yes. I don't know what the reccomendations are for fungi from those areas.
doctoral

i wouldn't eat anything collected in Cumbria, to date, based on the Chenobyl 'incident', which apparently contaminated land up there for decades. Sorry, but that's the way I feel. Sad
cab

As a kid I had a couple of holidays in Crimdon Dene, which is more or less within sight of Hartlepool nuclear power station. Dunno how we all survived eating all those winkles from there Embarassed
doctoral

Shocked Crimdon Dene is one thing, Chernobyl another ... how are the sheep doing - that should be an indication of how the mushrooms are ...
JPBearclaw

Fungi can absorb heavy metals (cadmium if i remember rightly is one of them) as they are around 80/90% water so id steer clear of road side shrooms better to err on the side of caution eh, and dont eat anything along foot paths higher than a great dane can cock its leg without washing it first Confused Milton in a very dilute sollution then lots of water is a good way(not for shrooms they absorb to much water if washed and should be dry brushed), A friend of mine collects rose hips from her local paths on the way to work shes in the middle of birmingham and makes syrup from them which is very nice, parks can be ok but as i said just err on the side of caution on the lower stuff Neutral .
bingo

I've eaten mushrooms from roadsides and I'm O.K. The only places I can find "The saint Georges mushroom"(I bet you like that one Cab) is on country road verges. Obviously its not as healthy as a mushroom found miles out in the forest, but hey if it tastes good I'm prepared to glow in the dark.
JPBearclaw

Its maybe a bit like hard wood dust, one of the most carcenogenic things you can inhale, why wear a dust mask? or have an extractor? its totally upto the individual, but once its in its in Confused
Green Man

I was always told as a child not to pick brambles next to busy roads. Probably not as bad nowadays now that the petrol is lead free Question
mimborin

With respect to absorption of heavy metals by mushrooms:

It depends very much on the individual location; Volume of traffic, type of traffic, amount of trees or bushes between the roadside and mushrooms, and the distance of the mushrooms from the road. These, as well as atmospheric conditions, will have an effect of the amount of heavy metals that are taken up. A lot of mushrooms are very fast growing so may not have enough time to absorb significant amounts of heavy metals, unless growing in saturated conditions.

These are the personal basic conditions I apply: Directly by quiet country lanes - fine, directly by main roads - don't eat. In between those extremes is based on common sense and some knowledge of the above effects. With respect to park land, I personally would not worry about heavy metals since trees are very effective at absorbing them and the amount in the atmosphere in most weathers will drop roughly exponentially with distance from roads. There will probably be a higher concentration of heavy metals in the fish you eat (assuming you eat fish).
nettie

There's a quince bush in the middle of an extremely busy roundabout near me that is laden with fruit. Am I more at risk from the pollution or getting run over to get them?? Very Happy
Bernie66

A slow death or a quick one? The choice is yours Shocked
mimborin

nettie wrote:
There's a quince bush in the middle of an extremely busy roundabout near me that is laden with fruit. Am I more at risk from the pollution or getting run over to get them?? Very Happy


More risk from over consumption by the sounds of it! Razz
cab

Bernie66 wrote:
A slow death or a quick one? The choice is yours Shocked


Reminds me of the apple tree laden with gorgeous red apples... growing over the edge of a cliff near Hunstanton Laughing
Bernie66

Were they nice? Wink
cab

Bernie66 wrote:
Were they nice? Wink


Dunno, I bottled out, but the ones I had to scramble up a cliff for on Portland were superb.
dpack

urban apples
Very Happy
doctoral

Cho-ku-ri wrote:
I was always told as a child not to pick brambles next to busy roads. Probably not as bad nowadays now that the petrol is lead free Question


Not quite, but the combustion products from methyl and ethyl tertiary butyl ether are not very nice either ...
jp

As JPBearclaw says, its heavy metals that may be an issue with shrooms - cadmium & mercury seem to be the main problems. Funnily enough the degree to which they absorb heavy metals (well, mercury at least) seems to vary with the type of shroom - according to some research in Poland anyway. They looked at several well known species: the worst (highest) mecury uptake was in fungi such as A muscaria, A fulva & a Lactarius species. Others including some Clitocybe & Boletus species seemed to take up very little or no mercury.
From a practical (i.e. eating) perspective, providing the soil is not heavily polluted with mercury they found that the uptake of mercury in edible species was unlikely to be high enough to be a health hazard Very Happy Very Happy - providing you did not pig out on heavily contaminated shrooms each & every day . Confused
Worst species of the lot seems to be A muscaria (Fly Agaric).
bingo

Heavy metal

JP. When I'm thinking Madeira...Toast....Steak....Butter.....Garlic.....
Fly Agaric is not something that springs to mind.

Interesting post though.
jp

Quote:
When I'm thinking Madeira...Toast....Steak....Butter.....Garlic.....
Fly Agaric is not something that springs to mind.


With you on this one Bingo. Mind you there are folks who eat Fly Agarics as I'm sure you know... what do you suppose will kill 'em first, the toxin/hallucinogen content or the havy metals... Shocked
bingo

Fly Agaric

Turn to page 15 in your Roger Phillips book of mushrooms. This desciption of what happens when you eat the Fly Agaric makes me chuckle evertime I read it. Why would anybody want to put them selves through that? Even the milder hallucinogenic properties of the Psilocybe semilanceata/(Liberty Cap)/magic mushroom is not something I would choose to experience these days.
jp

Quote:
Turn to page 15 in your Roger Phillips book of mushrooms.

Think I must have a different edition / book than yours - no mention of the effects of Psilocybe semilanceata/(Liberty Cap)/magic mushrooms in my book... Confused What does your edition have to say?
But you are right, its not something I would choose to try, certainly not with a young family as I have.
bingo

JP I have young children too.Bailey 3 and Angel 4 They love mushroom picking with me Check out my vid.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCLXT0hJxWk

Excuse my language. I nearly had an accident with my mushroom knife and my little boy.

The text that makes me laugh in rogers book is on page 15 about consuming the Fly Agaric not liberty cap.

My kids have been tought from a young age that some of the mushrooms out there are deadly and some can make you feel really horrible. When out they only touch what I have approved.
doctoral

I still love the photo ...
jp

Quote:
I have young children too.Bailey 3 and Angel 4 They love mushroom picking with me

Bingo, your daughter is same age as mine - Rebecca. She like coming along with me shroom picking, though at that age interest soon wains.

Quote:
My kids have been taught from a young age that some of the mushrooms out there are deadly and some can make you feel really horrible. When out they only touch what I have approved.

I've been taking the same approach - was'nt sure if it was the best way, so its good to hear of someone else who does the same thing. Education on this is vital. Stats on shroom poisonings (at least in the States) suggests that aroung 85% of them are kids - usually picking fungi & eating them while parents were not looking & the great majority of these were under 5 years old Shocked . Better to teach them at a young age the do's & do'nts - & how to have fun safely.
jp

Quote:
I still love the photo ...


Yeah, me to.
bingo

Glad you like my picture.

I'm flattered you like this photo. My little girl is really funny. Doc if we end up meeting up on Sat (hope so), If theres time I could take you to this spot. Its about 15 miles from the hedgehogs. JP you allowed out on Sat? I've got the go ahead now. I know what you mean when youv'e got free time to spend time with the family. Unfortunatly proper mushroom hunts envolve big walks and not kids. This is Angel as a baby with some Orange Birch Boletes.
jp

Quote:
JP you allowed out on Sat? I've got the go ahead now. I know what you mean when youv'e got free time to spend time with the family. Unfortunatly proper mushroom hunts envolve big walks and not kids.


Not sure - I will work on it. If I can it would be Sat morning only I guess...I'll let you know this evening. scratch
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