Collecting porcini mushrooms and preparing them correctly: the most important tips

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The porcini mushroom is a real collector’s item in the truest sense of the word – it is actually the finest edible mushroom in our latitudes. Since it therefore has a proud purchase price, more and more people are looking for mushrooms themselves. We’ll tell you how to properly collect porcini mushrooms and prepare them deliciously.

Porcini mushrooms are in season from July to October and, with a little know-how, you can collect them yourself. The porcini mushroom is characterized by a pleasant smell and its nutty, mild taste. The noble mushroom is very popular and is ideal as a delicious edible mushroom.

How do you recognize porcini mushrooms in the forest?
Porcini mushrooms are mainly native to Central Europe. They need an increased nitrate content in the soil. That is why you will find the mushrooms mainly near nettles, sprinkled herbs, oaks, spruces and pines. When looking for mushrooms, however, do not pick just any specimens: the ideal boletus should have reached a certain age. So leave very young mushrooms standing so that they can continue to grow. Over time, these then spread their spores so that new specimens can arise again.

Don’t just tear or cut the mushroom when you pick it – boletus will be twisted out. In this way you can identify the specimen more precisely and avoid mix-ups. But there are also special mushroom knives, such as the Opinel carbon knife – optionally there is also a duo with a practical brush .

This is what the boletus looks like
The hat is up to 25 cm wide and spherical in shape. In young specimens it is whitish, later light to dark brown. The stem is gray-white to gray-brownish, up to 20 cm high and between 3 and 6 cm thick. The mushroom should not turn bluish under pressure (then it is probably the chestnut boletus, which is also edible).

Do not confuse the boletus, also called the male mushroom, with the visually similar bile boletus. This tastes extremely bitter and is not edible – in larger quantities it can cause severe gastrointestinal complaints. Its flesh is white, firm and almost odorless, the handle has a strong, large-meshed network. If you are not sure, leave the mushroom alone.

Steep mushrooms are so healthy
Ceps are real protein bombs and are full of amino acids. But fiber, vitamins B1 and B2, minerals such as zinc and potassium and phosphorus are also abundant. In addition, it is very low in calories with 20 calories per 100 g, because the porcini mushroom consists of 90 percent water.

Buy porcini mushrooms: what to consider
You don’t have to collect porcini mushrooms yourself in the forest: you can also buy fresh specimens at the weekly market or in the supermarket. It is important to know here that you can no longer store these because they have already been on the way for a few days. Therefore, ideally prepare these on the same day.

Store porcini mushrooms properly
Unfortunately, porcini mushrooms perish quickly, which is why you should always prepare them as quickly as possible. However, if you do a few things, the mushrooms keep for around two days:

Do not store porcini mushrooms in plastic containers or in plastic wrap. Condensation forms underneath, which leads to the formation of mold. Better: use a cotton or linen cloth or paper and wrap the boletus in it. Ideally, you should then store the mushrooms in the vegetable drawer in your fridge. Fresh porcini mushrooms stay there for about 3 days.

Prepare porcini mushrooms: stew, fry or gratin?
First you should rid the mushrooms of coarse dirt by gently rubbing them with a kitchen towel. Do not wash the mushrooms! They quickly soak up water and then become spongy and mushy. Now cut the lower, wooden end of the handle with a sharp knife. Now the steep mushrooms are clean and ready to be processed according to taste.

When raw, the mushrooms contain haemolysins, which attack our red blood cells. While this is not dramatic, it is recommended to heat the mushrooms before consuming them.

Depending on your taste, you can boil, stew, fry, gratin or bake porcini mushrooms. There are really no limits to your imagination! Just make sure you don’t use too much salt – this will quickly drown out the fine aroma of the gourmet mushroom.

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