The Mushroom season is upon us and we have gone on another forage.
The two mushrooms we forage for are slippery Jacks and Saffron Milkcaps these are local to our area and easy to identify.
This edible species grows in conifer woods. It has a very sticky cap which is always covered in debris and, as it is also eaten by larvae, careful cleaning is necessary before cooking. When we pick we instantly peel off the sticky top layer as this can cause a tummy upset.
The white flesh yellows as it matures, but it doesn’t change colour when cut (e.g. doesn’t react to air.) Consequently, some wild mushrooms advise peeling them as they are picked so that they don’t stick together. When the underside starts to turn from yellow to brown, though, the mushroom is getting very old.
Cap: brown to brownish-yellow, sometimes purplish, radially streaked with darker lines or of mottled colour, fading with age. Lopsided, convex, sometimes nearly flat, 5 – 10cm diameter. Remnants of veil sometimes on margin. Cuticle slimy with brown gluten when moist, shiny when dry. Flesh pale yellow or white, unchanging. Tubes: adnate, soft, short, 5-8mm. Pores: a first covered by a white membranous veil, pale yellow, finally yellowish-olive, small, simple. Stipe: stout, rather short, 2.5 – 5cm long, with a large purplish-brown membranous ring. Yellow, granular above ring, white or brownish below. Flesh tough, elastic sometimes faintly greenish at apex.
We enjoy them in risotto but I think they would be lovely in soup and can be dried. They can be somewhat bland on there own but have a good consistancy of flavour. We also peel the spongey side off though I’ve read some reports this isn’t neccessary.
Saffron Milk Cap
Some of the earliest know illustrations of fungi are the representations of Lactarius deliciousus in the frescoes of Herculaneum and Pompeii. In Germany it is regarded by some as the best of all edible fungi. In china it is gathered and eaten on a large scale, and it is one of the officially recognised edible species sold in French markets. Always found growing under conifers, it is often buried by pine needles. In favourable seasons a giant can form, 10 – 30cm broad, can be often found.
Tastes mild, with an aromatic smell, it is delicious when cooked slowly and well. Can be served in stews, casseroles, in a sauce on toast or sliced in soups. It is especially recommended when cooked with Fistulina hepatica in butter and a little stock for at least 45 mins, and then flavoured with Worcestershire sauce or sherry. It should be washed before cooking to remove as much of the milk as possible.
The Saffron Milk Cap should be cooked quickly at high temperature to avoid stewing. The stalks should be discarded.
I love mushroom season we will be going for another forage soon so we can dry some for year long soups.
Remember if in doubt throw it out and NEVER eat these ones!