Determine porcini mushrooms correctly
Congratulations! They were successful and found some wonderful porcini mushrooms or even managed to collect a whole basket. But before you are proud to head home and process your find, you should take another close look at the mushrooms: There are some species that look very similar to the boletus. Although these are not necessarily poisonous, they taste different and may also be processed differently. Caution is advised, especially with the inedible gall bolus. This differs from the boletus by the mostly darker and coarser stem net and the lighter hat. If meat and tubes turn blue on pressure or when cut, it is usually the chestnut bolet, which is also edible.
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Pre-clean porcini mushrooms in the forest
So that you can determine the type of mushroom with certainty, you should not cut the specimens found by the stem, but carefully unscrew them with a knife. The lower part of the stem, covered by the earth, is essential for the determination. If you are sure about the type of fungus, you can roughly clean it in the forest: damaged and pitted areas are generously cut away, and you can also clean the fruiting bodies of adhering earth and other parts of the plant such as leaves or needles. After the determination, you can also cut away the lower part of the stem if it is heavily soiled and cannot be cleaned.
Watch out, maggots!
Ceps are not only very popular with humans, they are also eaten by snails, maggots and other animals. Maggots are mainly found inside the mushroom, where they work their way up from the bottom. With a little bit of bad luck, it can happen that a boletus that looks good on the outside is already bald on the inside. For this reason, you should always cut open boletus in the forest and remove any damaged interior generously. You should not take away heavily eaten mushrooms.
Cleaning porcini mushrooms - step by step
On arrival at home, the collected mushrooms should be cleaned and processed immediately. Forest mushrooms in particular spoil very quickly due to their very high protein and water content and should therefore not lie around for a few hours at room temperature. If the mushrooms cannot be used immediately, clean them thoroughly and then wrap them in a clean cloth or paper. Stored in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, they can be kept for up to two days.
And this is how you clean the sensitive mushrooms:
- If you have not already done so, cut away any areas that have been eaten or maggot.
- Light tubes can remain, but if they are already dark or even greenish - cut them away.
- Carefully brush the whole mushroom with a clean mushroom brush.
- Remove adhering earth and other dirt.
- You can wipe the hat with a clean cloth.
- If not already done, cut the fruiting body lengthways and check for maggots.
- Cut away any maggot damage.
In most cases, these measures are sufficient for cleaning. Only with older specimens may it be necessary to peel both the stem and the hat.
Why shouldn't you wash mushrooms if possible?
Cleaning the porcini mushrooms is quite tedious and tedious - some would like to make it easier for themselves and simply wash the fruiting bodies instead of brushing them off. However, this step is only recommended for very heavily soiled specimens that cannot otherwise be cleaned sufficiently. Place the cut mushrooms that have been checked for maggots in a sieve and rinse them thoroughly with a powerful jet of water. Then dry them carefully with a dry cloth so that the mushrooms do not absorb too much water - they are not called “mushrooms” in Bavarian for nothing. Mushrooms soaked in water quickly become mushy and lose a lot of their aroma.
Caution: Porcini mushrooms available in the supermarket mostly come from Eastern Europe and can be heavily contaminated with heavy metals or radioactive substances. Since in Germany wild mushrooms are only allowed to be collected for small personal consumption and boletus cannot be grown, forest mushrooms are always imported for commercial sale. This also applies to some other species, such as chanterelles.