nice-looking mushrooms you got there. We get them here as well and know them by the name "Sirovec zlutooranzovy". These have a good flavor, but
it's best to pick and eat only the young ones. When they are older they are too tough and don't have much flavour either.
The Czechs are passionate about collecting mushrooms, so much so that we have dictionaries/encyclopedias of mushrooms on sale here, as well as ones
online. Besides giving details of appearance, where to find them and when to pick, they also explain how to store or cook them and often give recipes
Here's the Laetiporus on one of our Czech websites. (I'm not uploading images from this site as they are copyright and -- errrm -- I live here.
We classify mushrooms into several categories, both in terms of their appearance and also their value. I won't go into the details here but the basic
classifications are non-poisonous versus poisonous and then edible and non-poisonous versus the others. However, the Czechs have saying that "every
mushroom is edible, but some only once." As another poster said, there are no old, bold mushroomers...
Surprisingly, many that are seen as "toadstools" in the West are actually delicious and not poisonous at all, while some of the tastiest
"mushroom" ones can be deadly. For example, Hmmm... Maybe I should start a thread about mushroom-collecting in Europe if it's not been done
already. There are hundreds of edible fungi if a person knows where to look.
Edit: btw that Boletus Edulis is a superb mushroom. We call them "Hrib smrkovy", "smrk" meaning "spruce", and "Hrib" meaning it's one of the
Boletus family. They are most common in forests where needle-leaf trees grow. (ie Conifers) This is due mainly to the ph value of the soil or humus
they need to grow in. One reason we like them -- besides the taste -- is that they are fairly hard-bodied so they don't tend to get so readily
infested with larvae. They are also excellent for drying and can then be stored, preferably in muslin bags (not glass jars). It's best not to dry
mushrooms in direct sunlight as the sun's rays can deteriorate their quality. Sliced thin and laid out on a screen and dried over a couple of days is
Most Boletus mushrooms are safe but some are poisonous. For example, Boletus
(we call it Hrib satan) is one to avoid as it can cause pretty nasty gastro trouble. (It's not deadly, though.) Fortunately it's
pretty easy to identify by its creamy to silver-grey coloured cap, the deep orange-red sponge underside and the bulbous stem. If you slice one
lengthways the inside changes to a blue colour. (Slicing a mushroom in half is often an excellent way to assist in identifying it.) You can
cook these mushrooms in ways to make them edible but it's not
The "taste test": a mushroom's taste is no guide whatsoever
to its toxicity or lack of it. Some mushrooms which taste foul or bitter
are non-poisonous and will not do you harm (if you can manage to eat them
), while others, including possibly the deadliest of all (
) are just the opposite. In one of my references it says
"according to survivors, the Amanita tastes delicious".
In short, if you have no idea what it is, then don't taste it.
Final notes: someone mentioned that mushrooms sometimes seem to pop up in large numbers after a forest fire. Yes, this can happen. The reason is that
if the fire's radiant heat is not too intense, it serves to warm the ground. Fungi are very temperature-dependent, and so if it's warm and there is
adequate moisture some varieties will grow. Unfortunately, other varieties that are highly symbiotic to certain trees or even mouldering logs can be
decimated and it can take years for them to recover -- if they ever do in the affected region.
People, if you find a mushroom that you know is poisonous or inedible, please don't kick it out of the ground or harm it in any way! The symbiotic
relationships of some fungi are very fragile, with certain inedible species helping edible ones to grow. They also serve useful purposes by helping to
break down organic matter, and besides that, some species that are inedible to us are food for animals. (eg. Some types of squirrels can eat death
caps with no ill effects!)
[edit on 6/10/09 by JustMike]