Bolete mushrooms are by far my favorite mushroom to forage, cook and eat. They are easy to identify because they have a spongy bottom. They are also one of the mushrooms that you should be extra careful with because there are inedible as well as poisonous types of boletes. As always with these guides, I need to have a disclaimer: you cannot eat something just because someone on the internet told you to. Do not go foraging alone if you don’t have the proper experience and don’t eat anything you aren’t 100% certain about. There are mycological societies that can help you learn to safely enjoy wild mushrooms.
Identifying a Bolete
The easiest identifying feature of bolete mushroom is their lack of gills. Instead, they have a dense spongy texture underneath their tops. Here’s my favorite mushroom-obsessed YouTuber explaining it better than I could:
Adam has another great video explaining some myths, such as, ‘if it turns blue when you cut it in half, it’s not necessarily toxic.’ However, if you’re extra careful, you might as well avoid these just in case. Since there are poisonous boletes out there, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. They say that mushroom-pickers are either old or bold, not both. Let’s all strive for the old – no mushroom is worth dying for.
What to Avoid
1. Make sure you have a Bolete, an upright mushroom with a stem and with sponge like pores instead of gills under the cap and growing in soil, not on wood.
2. If there is any red colouring on the mushroom, that includes the stem, pores or cap, avoid as this can be the sign of a toxic Bolete.
3. Slice the mushroom in half vertically, if the flesh turns vivid blue quickly after or immediately on cutting, again avoid due to possible toxicity. The pores on a few edible Boletes can discolour to green or blue but it is the flesh changing colour rapidly that is a sign to avoid the mushroom.Wild Food UK
Where to Look for Them?
Boletes are plentiful in most forests, at least in my experience. However, as we have already read, you need to pick them in the right place. Do not pick them if they are growing on wood, for example. A key to identifying any mushroom is to also learn to identify a few common trees. It will also help you know where to look for certain mushrooms. Bolete mushrooms, for example, grow around oaks.
“When and where to find them (ecology) King boletes are mycorrhizal and are most commonly found under hemlock and oak especially where sphagnum mosses are present. They are also fairly common under most varieties of spruce. Lawns and grass under conifers are another common habitat.”Mushroom Collecting
I didn’t actually know that they grew on lawns and grass until I set up a canopy in my back yard. The shade combined with the recent humidity has resulted in at least five bolete mushrooms popping up on a daily basis starting late June! I haven’t eaten any since they are close to my neighbor’s yards and I have no idea if they use any pesticides. They also often grow by roads and you should avoid these too because of the car pollution. All food absorbs toxins in the ground and air so don’t let me scare you out of picking them.
Once you have found boletes, cut them in half, triple checked with experts and are ready to cook, check out this list of recipes. I personally love them simple and pan-fried with some caramelized onions. But then again I will eat a giant bowl of them on their own and call it a meal. Keep in mind that even edible mushrooms can cause stomach-aches so experts always recommend that you eat a tiny bit then wait and see how you feel. Then again, when you fry mushrooms in lots of oil, it may be the oil that’s upsetting your body and not the mushrooms.
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