Boletus Edulis

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Boletus Edulis Mushroom, Vancouver Island, BC
Boletus Edulis Mushroom, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

The Boletus Edulis is a delicious, and meaty mushroom that grows all over the world. It has many names such as king, cep, porcini, steinpilz, penny bun, and many others.  This mushroom is a favorite subject that is drawn, painted or sculpted by artists. The Boletus Edulis is often very large with a thick club-like stem, thick cap, it is a very beautiful mushroom

Boletus Edulis Mushrooms are mycorrhizal and are most commonly found within conifer forests that have lots of hemlocks growing. Look where sphagnum mosses are found. I find many in spruce forests here on the Island.

Boletus Edulis, Vancouver Island, BC
Boletus Edulis, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

No mushroom is more satisfying. The edulus can have a yellow, red to brown cap atop a thick white or brown stalk, and grows individually or in small clumps on the ground in coniferous forests. They can be found in all parts of the Pacific Northwest. They are very delicious.

They are not just a hearty meal though, king bolete mushrooms are immunostimulating and contain lots of vitamin B, thereby can help to maintain a balanced nervous system.

It grows in conifer forests where it just like all other mushrooms, has an association with the roots of the trees, aiding them in absorbing nutrients while receiving sugars from the tree’ in return. There is much more going on here that we are just beginning to understand.

Boletus Edulus Mushroom, Edible Mushrooms, Pacific Northwest
Boletus Edulus Mushroom, Edible Mushrooms, Pacific Northwest, photo by Bud Logan

You will have a hard time finding them in the Pacific Northwest without maggots in them unless the mushroom is really young and small, they’re the best tasting ones anyways. Vancouver Island has lots of them, you can find them growing from sea level right up to 1000 meters. The little mushrooms can be difficult to find because they barely poke their caps above the soil surface. This elusiveness is further enhanced by the fact that sometimes they do not even push above the needles that have accumulated on the floor of the forest. Experienced shoomers look for small humps in the litter that indicate these choice mushrooms are hiding underneath. But the mere presence of these mushrumps does not mean Boletus Edulus is underneath. There are many kinds of mushrooms that do this. Including the pine mushroom, also known as the Matsutake mushroom, another very choice mushroom.

As with any mushroom, you must be absolutely sure what you’re harvesting, never eat a mushroom unless you can identify it with no mistakes because making a mistake when harvesting mushrooms could kill you. The Boletus edulis is fairly easy to identify, once you get the hang of it, although it has many variations in color and size and shape. The stem of these mushrooms will have a pattern on them that looks like the skin patterns on a giraffe.

Boletus Edulus, Vancouver Island, BC
Boletus Edulus, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

Boletus Edulis mushrooms are excellent sautéed or fried. The flesh is a bit crunchy with a slightly nutty flavor.  Boletus edulis is a great mushroom for the dehydrator, they are almost as good as fresh when you reconstitute them before use. Drying concentrates the flavor and removes any bitterness.  You can dry and powder them for use in soups and gravies.

To ensure you have the Boletus Edulis, chew on a piece of the cap, If it tastes bitter, this is not your porcini. If it has a nutty flavor and is quite meaty, you have found a boletus Edulis, enjoy.

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