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The Mushroom Page (2)

Page history last edited by John W Lehman 10 years, 7 months ago

This is a continuation of The Mushroom Page. Click on the link to go back to that page.



Eating Wild Mushrooms


Remember the cardinal rule for eating wild mushrooms: "When in doubt, throw it out!" Also keep in mind that "while there are old mushroom hunters and bold mushroom hunters, there are no old, bold mushroom hunters."


As a rule, you should not eat wild mushrooms raw. Some mushrooms (the Honey Mushroom, for example) that are edible cooked may be poisonous when raw, and some may contain carcinogens that are destroyed by cooking.


1. Be sure you have identified the mushroom correctly and that one or more recent field guides says it is edible.


2. Examine the mushrooms for insect larvae and evidence of decay, and discard any specimens or parts of specimens that are suspect. Most cases of mushroom “poisoning” are actually food poisoning from decaying or larvae-infested specimens. Since larvae tunnel up through the stalk before reaching the cap, the cap may still be usable even if the stalk has been infested. 


3. If the mushrooms are fresh and free of larval holes (or have only a few small ones), trim off any tough or inedible parts. The stalks of some mushrooms may be flavorless or too tough to eat. Slug-eaten excavations shouldn't be harmful but may be unappetizing to squeamish diners. As a rule, you shouldn't peel the cap unless it's slimy or otherwise unappetizing. Cut away any spongy tube layer on a mature bolete; don’t remove young, firm tubes.


4. Clean the mushrooms by using a barely moistened mushroom brush to remove any dirt or debris. If necessary, finish cleaning with a moistened paper towel. As a rule, you should not clean mushrooms under running water or soak them in water; this dilutes the flavor and tends to make them slimy when you cook them. (Morels and a few other mushrooms are exceptions to the rule.)


5. If this is the first time you’ve eaten the species, cook only a small amount (some field guides recommend 1/4 of an average size cap). Even if the mushroom is listed as edible, you may be allergic to it, and there’s always a possibility of incorrect identification. Cook it thoroughly in butter or oil, eat it, and & wait for at least 24 hours before eating any more mushrooms of that species. Don’t feed the mushroom to anyone else until you (or a willing volunteer) have tried it, and don’t eat more than one species at a timeKeep some specimens of the mushroom so that it can be identified in case of an adverse reaction.


6. If there are no adverse effects, eat more of that species, but in moderation. Cook the mushrooms thoroughly by sautéing them as described in the first recipe below, or use a recipe designed for the species. Don’t cook mushrooms with strong-flavored ingredients that might overpower the mushroom flavor.


Some Wild Mushroom Recipes

All recipes assume that the mushrooms are fresh and have been trimmed and cleaned as described under Eating Wild Mushrooms. Joe's Book of Mushroom Cookery contains a large selection of wild mushroom recipes.


Basic Sauteed Mushrooms

It's best to use a simple recipe like this one when you're eating a species for the first time. To be sure you're experiencing the true taste of the mushroom you can cook it without butter or oil in a nonstick frying pan and omit the other ingredients.

edible mushrooms

butter, olive oil (preferably extra virgin), or a mixture of the two

salt and pepper

Slice larger mushrooms in 1/4-inch slices; small mushroom caps may be cooked whole. Heat the oil or butter (about 1 tablespoon per cup of mushrooms) in a skillet at medium-high heat until quite hot. Add the mushrooms and cook, with stirring, until any moisture in the bottom of the pan has evaporated (or nearly so). If necessary, reduce heat, cover the skillet, and continue cooking  until mushrooms taste done (some mushrooms require long cooking times). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Variations: Saute some chopped onions in the butter or oil until just translucent before adding mushrooms. Add some minced garlic during the last minute of cooking at medium-high heat. Use fairly coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Season to taste with soy sauce.


Sauteed Wild Mushrooms with Sesame and Ginger

This recipe works well with meadow mushrooms and other mushrooms with a high water content. Serves 4.

2 Tbsp peanut oil or rice bran oil             2 Tbsp dry sherry

1 1/2 pounds mushrooms                        2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted*              1 Tsp toasted (dark) sesame oil

1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger                     2 green onions (scallions), sliced very thin

Cut large mushrooms in quarters and smaller mushrooms in half. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook, with occasional stirring, about 5 minutes or until mushrooms release liquid. Increase heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated. Add remaining oil, reduce heat to medium, and continue to cook with occasional stirring for another 6–8 minutes. Add sesame seeds and ginger and cook with constant stirring until ginger is fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add sherry and soy sauce and cook with constant stirring until liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat, stir in sesame oil, and garnish with green onions.

*Toast sesame seeds in a medium-hot, small dry skillet for 5-10 minutes with shaking and stirring until seeds darken and become fragrant.

(Adapted from Cooks Illustrated magazine.)


Fried Morels

1 pound morels                                           1 cup dry bread crumbs

3 eggs                                                         1/2 c (1 stick) butter

1/2 cup milk                                                 salt and pepper

Slice morels in half (remove any insects that may be hiding inside), clean thoroughly under running water, and dry by blotting with paper towels. Make a batter by beating eggs briefly in a bowl and mixing in the milk. Place bread crumbs in a separate shallow bowl. Dip morels in the batter and then on both sides in the bread crumbs so that they are coated with an even layer of crumbs. Melt the butter in a skillet until it starts to bubble, add the morels in a single layer, and cook until golden brown on both sides. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Variation: A simpler method is to roll the cleaned morels in flour or cornmeal (or a mixture of the two) and fry until golden brown in a little hot butter, then season with salt and pepper.


Wild Rice with Chanterelles and Apricots

1 cup wild rice                                           1 1/2 tsp salt

4 Tbsp butter                                             1/3 cups chopped onions

1 1/2 cups fresh chanterelles, sliced         2 Tbsp chopped dried apricots

Soak wild rice in water to cover for 30 min. Drain and rinse rice.

Bring 3 cups water to a boil. Add salt, 1 Tbsp butter, and wild rice. Cover and simmer until wild rice is just tender, about 30 minutes. Strain off any excess water. Meanwhile sauté the onions in 2 Tbsp butter until just transparent. Add chanterelles and apricots and sauté for 2 minutes more. Add salt and 1 Tbsp butter and stir fry for 1 minute. Stir in wild rice and blend until well mixed.


Scrambled Shaggy Manes

Shaggy manes should be eaten shortly after being collected, since they decompose rapidly. Remove blackened parts, if any, from the base of the cap.

1 lb shaggy manes                                          3 eggs

2 Tbsp butter                                                   1/4 cup cream (optional) 

1/2 cup chopped onions                                   salt & pepper                                                                         

Chop mushrooms into fairly small pieces. Melt butter in skillet and saute onions until just translucent. Add shaggy mane pieces and cook on low heat, with occasional stirring, until most of their moisture seems to have cooked out of them (this may take 10 minutes or so). Increase the heat and cook with stirring until nearly all of the moisture has evaporated. Meanwhile beat the eggs briefly and stir in the cream, if used. Add the egg mixture and cook on medium-low heat with stirring until the eggs are set. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Cheesy Puffballs

Always cut open puffballs to make sure they are fresh and are actually puffballs. They should have a uniform marshmallow-white interior. If the interior is yellow or a dark color or has any discrete structures (such as gills and stems), discard them.

1 tsp salt                                                      1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup flour                                                    4 Tbsp butter (more if needed)

1 pound puffballs                                         2 tablespoons oil (more if needed)

1 egg, slightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water    

Cut small puffballs in half; cut larger ones in 1/2-inch slices. Mix the salt with the flour and put in a shallow bowl. Put the egg and cheese in separate bowls. Dip the mushroom pieces or slices in the flour/salt mixture to coat them evenly. Dip them in the egg and then in the cheese. Melt the butter with the oil in a skillet and sauté the mushrooms slowly until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.


Hedgehog Mushroom and Potato Casserole

Older hedgehog mushrooms tend to become bitter, so select mushrooms with firm teeth and a mild, fresh odor.

4 potatoes, sliced                                           1/4 cup milk

butter                                                              1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound sliced hedgehog mushrooms           1 Tbsp chives (optional)

1/4 cup heavy cream                                     

Layer half of the potatoes in a buttered casserole dish. Add the mushrooms in a layer, distribute the cream evenly over them, and layer the remaining potatoes on top. Cover and bake in a preheated 375º F oven for 25 minutes. Pour the milk over the potatoes, sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese, and distribute the chives evenly. Return to the oven and bake uncovered at 375º F for another 20 minutes.

Variation: You can chop 4 slices of chopped bacon and distribute it on the potatoes after adding the Parmesan cheese.


Fried Boletes

1 lb. King boletes, scaber stalks, or other edible boletes

2 eggs, beaten                                1 1/2 cups cracker crumbs

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter                    salt

Carefully remove the spongy tubes from the bottom of each cap with a paring knife or a teaspoon (firm tubes of young specimens need not be removed). Cut the boletes in 1/4 inch slices. Put the eggs and cracker crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip the mushroom slices in the beaten eggs and coat them with cracker crumbs. Heat butter in large frying pan until it starts to bubble. Add as many mushroom slices as will fit in the pan in one layer and sauté until crumbs are golden brown on each side. Repeat with remaining mushroom slices. Season to taste. (Note: Scaber stalks will darken or even turn black upon cooking, but are still edible.)

(Adapted from Joe's Book of Mushroom Cookery.)


Sauteed Sulfur Shelf Mushrooms

1 lb sulfur shelf mushrooms                          olive oil or butter

4 cups chicken broth, salted                         6 green onions, thin sliced

1 medium onion, quartered                          salt and pepper

If necessary, break apart the fruiting body to separate the brackets (layers), and clean them individually. Trim away any tough parts of the brackets (the central part near where the mushroom was attached to wood is the toughest). Cover the mushrooms with chicken broth, heat to boiling, and simmer until tender; this may take 1/2 hour to several hours. Remove the onion and drain off the broth. Cut the brackets crosswise into 1/4 inch slices and saute in olive oil or butter as described in the Basic Sauteed Mushrooms recipe. Stir in the green onions while sauteeing (add them when nearly done if you want them crisper). Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Meadow Mushrooms on Toast

2 Tbsp unsalted butter                                     3 Tbsp dry sherry

1 med onion, chopped                                     5 Tbsp chopped parsley       

1 clove garlic, minced                                      1 Tbsp lemon juice

12 oz meadow mushrooms                              salt & pepper

                                                                         4 slices bread

Melt the butter in a large frying pan and cook the onion with stirring until just translucent. Add the garlic and mushrooms, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Add the sherry, cook uncovered until liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat, stir in parsley and lemon juice, season to taste. Toast the bread and spoon the mushrooms over the toast.

(Adapted from The Ultimate Mushroom Book. This recipe can be used with a mixture of different mushrooms.)


Honey Mushrooms with Sour Cream

Honey mushroom stems are fibrous and should be removed before cooking.

1 1/2 pounds honey mushroom caps               salt and pepper

1 medium onion, fine chopped                         1 c sour cream

1/4 cup butter                                                   pinch sugar

Melt the butter on medium heat in large saucepan and saute onion until translucent. Add honey mushroom caps and cook covered at least 20 minutes. Remove cover, season with salt and pepper, and cook until most of moisture has evaporated. Reduce the heat and stir in the sour cream and sugar. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

(Adapted from Joe's Book of Mushroom Cookery.)

Variations: Garnish with chopped parsley. Use heavy cream instead of sour cream.




Climacodon septentrionale ("Stackahydnum")


Mushrooms on the Web


Go to Taylor Lockwood's Kingdom of Fungi website to see some great photos of different mushroom species. Click on the scientific name of a mushroom to see its photo.


Go to Fungus of the Month (FOM) to see photos of and information about some fascinating fungi selected by Tom Volk. Click on a month to see the fungus for that month, or on the scientific name of the current FOM. The most recent one is is Geomyces destructans, a fungus associated with White-Nose Syndrome, which has killed large numbers of bats.


Go to Kingdom of Fungi to see Taylor Lockwood's photos of "Volvariella bombycina in full glory."


Taylor recently added a great photo of "blue chanterelles," Polyozellus multiplex, that he found on Mt. Rainier. He also has a few 2010 "Beautiful Mushrooms of the World" calendars left (as of 11/17/09).


See Tom Volk's humorous page on "Fun with Giant Puffballs."


Do you remember the 9700 kg "humongous fungus" that was discovered near Crystal Falls, MI? Tom Volk's page gives the history of this Armillaria gallica clone and others that are even larger.


Tom Volk says "I've come to the conclusion that there just isn't enough smut on the internet" so he has remedied that deficiency with a page on Corn SmutUstilago maydis, known as huitlacoche in Mexico, where it's considered a delicacy.


Volk's website include's a "Fungus of the Month," but he's a little behind so the latest one is from May 2009. It is Geomyces destructans, a fungus associated with bat White-Nose Syndrome, which has killed large numbers of bats. You can find links to the fungi of the month on his Home Page.


Go to Mushroom Links for links to more web pages about mushrooms.


More to come...

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