If you are new to going out into the mountains to look for mushrooms, the first thing you should do is go with someone who knows about it. Even so, in this post we are going to leave you 10 types of edible mushrooms that you can find in many places in Spain. Do you dare to know them all?
GO OUT FOR EDIBLE MUSHROOMS. THAT LONG-AWAITED FALL (AND SPRING) ACTIVITY.
First of all if you have never gone out for mushrooms is not to buy a basket, or a knife, or a good book … No. The first thing you have to do is accompany someone who knows . You don’t have to be an expert mycologist. Simply someone who knows setales of one or two species who knows perfectly. Why?
Very easy. If someone knows a setal, they will be very sure that that species is edible and your first foray into the world of mushrooms, and especially edible mushrooms, will be safe. It is the most important thing.
This selection of edible mushrooms that we have made at Gardenprue has the sole purpose of helping you identify well-known mushrooms, good edibles and that are not easily confused with other poisonous ones. Even so, you always have to be very careful and if you do not know or doubt any, better not touch it. On the other hand, although almost all of them are easy to recognize, we are going to indicate some confusion that can occur.
EDIBLE MUSHROOMS ARE NOT “EASY TO IDENTIFY”
Careful with this. When we say easy it does not mean that you see the photo in front of you and go for all the ones that look like it without regard. Be careful with this that although they are not complicated to identify and find, there are situations that can generate confusion and the upset can be terrible. Mushrooms can change shape, color or size if they are young or mature (we will see a case of this later). If there has been a frost, (we will see another case), it can cause color changes and you get confused …
We do not want to scare you but you should never take anything for granted, especially when it comes to a disorder such as the one that can generate the ingestion of a poisonous mushroom. The best thing that can happen to you is a gastroenteritis and a stomach ache that you will not forget in your life. The worst, death and that really has no remedy. So please be careful.
If you want one of the best (saying the best is the same is a lot, but we don’t know a better one) identification field guides of hundreds of mushrooms from Spain and Europe, this is it:
It has an ideal format for the field. You have the correct identification keys. The drawings are wonderful (although I miss photos) and the information they give is accurate. A server has it and it is a delight.
Speaking of delicacies… let’s go to the first one on the list.
1. NÍSCALOS ( LACTARIUS DELICIOSUS )
The níscalo or robellón (rovellón also) is the first on our list of edible mushrooms easy to identify since it is a really highly appreciated mushroom. It has a special flavor that we like very much and the few confusions that there are are not dangerous. The chanterelle is characterized by appearing in the pine forest area.
- All the mushroom , laminae, hat, foot are orange in color .
- When you break or damage the lamellae, a very bright orange latex usually comes out.
- The foot is hollow when you cut it.
- The hat is umbilicated. This means that it sinks slightly in the center, creating a small bowl.
- The hat has concentric rings (other Lactarius also).
Photo by: GLJIVARSKO DRUSTVO NIS
It can be confused with the false chanterelle or Lactarius torminosus. This is spicy and unpleasant in taste but not poisonous. There are other chanterelles like L. semisanguifluus or L. sanguifluus that are excellent edibles as well. There are about 400 species of the genus Lactarius worldwide. Only in Europe you can find more than 100. Fortunately the chanterelle is abundant compared to other species of less gastronomic value.
Of all the edible mushrooms, the chanterelle is perhaps the easiest and safest to identify. And it is also abundant and they taste very good! Perfect to start
2. BOLETUS , ALSO CALLED MUSHROOMS. EXCELLENT EDIBLE MUSHROOMS
The next on the list of edible mushrooms could not be other than the Boletus . The king. The typical mushroom (in fact it is the cover of the guide that we mentioned above). Appreciated by all, boletales are one of the best species to collect for several reasons:
- Confusion with a poisonous one is practically nil
- They are excellent edibles. Its flavor is very delicate.
- It is one of the best mushrooms to freeze. They do not lose their texture excessively. The best at this is B. aestivalis
There are several species of edible tickets. We will highlight three: Boletus aereus , Boletus pinophilus and Boletus edulis . These three are the most sought after, although there are more very good edible species such as B. aestivalis, B. fragans ( similar to B. pinophilus), B appendiculatus, B regius …
- The clearest of all is that they lack plates under the hat . They are pores , whose internal structure are small tubes through which the spore falls. At sight it has a sponge texture of different colors depending on the species and the maturity of the carpophor. There are other genres with this structure but they are very different from the boletales.
- They have firm flesh , the foot is widened at the base.
- The hat is light brown to dark brown or reddish brown in the case of Boletus pinophilus .
- They are found in pine, holm oak, oak or beech forests (depending on the species). Also in chestnut area .
From left to right: B. edulis, B. aereus, B. pinophilus
- The only truly poisonous species (not deadly) is Boletus satanas and it is very easily identifiable because it has a white hat and the spore sponge is very bright red. When cut, its white meat turns bluish and it smells really bad. There are other species of doubtful edibility and somewhat indigestible even cooked, but having a very mediocre taste, they are directly avoided.
It is really difficult to confuse boletales with other genres. They can be confused with other boletales and those that are poisonous are clearly different. If you want to know more about the boletus here we have an article dedicated to them with more photos and identification keys.
Of edible mushrooms for me it is the queen. I really enjoy in the fall looking for them. Also because of how safe they are when it comes to identifying them and how good they are!
3. SENDERUELA OR CARRERILLA ( MARASMIUS OREADES )
A little gem of all the edible mushrooms that we know of that we can find both in autumn and spring in open meadow or moorland areas, far from the forests. It is a very common specimen, although it must be known well because it can be confused with mushrooms of the genus Clitocybe, which are very poisonous.
- The foot is thin, hat-like in color, fibrous and highly elastic. Resists twisting.
- The hat is convex to flat, making a slight bulge in the darker center called a mamelon.
- It has free blades, widely separated . It has lamélulas, that is, blades that do not go from the foot to the end of the hat.
- It usually comes out in meadows and pastures in circular, semi-circular or small paths.
Photo from: Wikimedia commons
- With the senderuela or mushroom run, you have to be more careful. It can be confused with others of the genus Clitocybe , specifically with C. rivulosa . The latter is whiter. That is why we say that on occasions when a frost has been able to whiten the run we can confuse them.
- Another way to be sure is by looking at the mamelon. The false run is just the opposite, the hat is depressed in the center unlike the authentic senderuela that has a protrusion. In very young specimens this difference can be ignored so it is better to leave them.
- In any case, the plates of the trail are much further apart.
If you want to know more about the senderuela here the full article. It is a mushroom that keeps very well dehydrated, like shiitake .
4. CANTHARELLUS OR MOUNTAIN EEL ( C. TUBAEFORMIS AND C. TABEFORMIS VAR. LUTESCENS )
Honestly, I discovered this mushroom not too many years ago and it has me in love. It has a unique, very special flavor and it is not difficult to find and identify it. There are two varieties in particular that usually appear together and both are excellent edibles.
- If it’s called a trumpet, it’s for a reason. Its morphology is as is. A thin, hollow foot that opens towards the hat. Therefore, the hat has a small hole in its central area.
- Lacks blades . They are folds of the hymenium decurrent towards the foot.
- E l foot is light yellow , more intense yellow orange in the case of C. lutescens .
- The hat (3-6 cm) is very dark brown in the lutescens variety . In C. tubaeformis it is a lighter brownish brown.
- Found in groups in coniferous areas.
There is practically no confusion with any poisonous. There is another species, the Cantharellus cibarius that is very different that it can be confused. To know more about this genre, here is the complete article.
It’s one of the latest discoveries on my list of edible mushrooms. I knew about her no more than 3 years ago and I really fell in love with her taste. Every fall I take a few!
5. VIOLET FOOT ( LEPISTA SAEVA )
This mushroom is also very easy to identify and there is practically no confusion with a poisonous one. It is a good edible although it has a very intense aroma that not everyone likes . It is an aroma that immediately saturates me. I can’t eat many and it’s not among my favorites. I include it because it is easy to identify and good edible.
The purple foot mushroom is named for that. Because it has a purple foot. There’s no more. It is confused with the next one that we are going to see of the same genre. But the differences are very very noticeable.
- The foot is very clearly purplish blue . This is the most important reference. Neither the lamellae nor the hat are purple so as not to confuse it with the drunkard or Lepista nuda . Only the foot is purple.
- The hat is convex of cream brown color.
- We can find it as the path in meadows or forest clearings in circles or small groups.
- It is not easy for there to be confusion since the color of the foot is acquired from a very young age. We could be wrong with the next one on the list, which is also another of the easy-to-identify edible mushrooms.
6. DRUNK OR BLUE FOOT ( LEPISTA NUDA )
The common names of this and the previous one are the ones that lead to confusion. There are people who call Lepista saeva bluefoot when it is Lepista nuda that has that common name. We prefer to call her drunk because of her wine color. It is found in many places, it is very common and in mild winters we can see it well into winter. It also has a strong smell and aroma that may not be liked by everyone.
- Unlike the previous one, the hat has a purplish or purplish brown hue. We can recognize her by her viscous hat, something shiny when there is humidity.
- It has blades and lamélulas also of violet color.
- The foot is also the same color. It is as if the whole mushroom had been dyed purple . Hence her common name of drunk
Photo from: Wikimedia commons
- It can be confused with the previous one on the list, Lepista saeva . They could be confused with some species of Cortinarius such as Cortinarius violaceus which is a low quality edible but in no case poisonous. Another can be Cortinarius purpurascens which is also edible.
7. UMBRELLA OR PARASOL ( MACROLEPIOTA PROCERA )
Another excellent edible easy to identify especially by its size and presence. It is seen from dozens of meters and although less known, properly cooked it is really delicious.
- Large hat (From 12 to 25 cm). This characteristic is essential so as not to be mistaken with other poisonous lepiotes.
- The foot is very thin tall and brindle (20 to 40 cm high by 2-3 cm wide). Color of the foot from light brown in the area of the hat to darker at the base (due to its brindle condition).
- It consists of a mobile double ring . This means that you can move it up and down by foot.
- The hat itself is soft but smooth and dry in appearance. In the center it has a mamelon (protrusion like that of a run) with a brown spot that peels off towards the edge. Woolly looking hat brim.
- It is recommended that you always take adult specimens, with the hat wide open and of more than 12-15 cm so as not to tempt your luck. Young specimens, with the hat still closed, can resemble very toxic Amanitas .
You have to be very careful with lepiotes. The genus Lepiota has several very poisonous species, deadly in fact. So unless you know Macrolepiota procera well , avoid picking them up.
Even having a large hat there is another non-fatal toxic Macrolepiota but in any case unpleasant. It is called Macrolepiota venenata. ¿ Its scientific name makes it clear not? To differentiate them, the keys are:
- The somewhat thicker foot turns red if you scrape it (this is key).
- M. venenata has a simple ring. M. procera is double.
- It has a huge bulb at the base of the foot.
- May have light matte pink foils.
8. THISTLE MUSHROOM ( PLEUROTUS ERYNGII )
Among the most appreciated edible mushrooms, the Boletus is disputed in delicate flavor with the thistle mushroom. It is a mushroom also very loved by avid gatherers, less abundant and confusion can occur with others of the genus that are simply edible of less quality.
It is called thistle because it is literally born from the roots of a very common thistle , the Eryngium campestre . Hence the surname of e ryngii . It is a saprophytic species, not symbiotic like other specimens. It feeds on the dead roots of the thistle.
- Umbilicate hat of dark brown color although it can vary to cream or slightly yellowish whitish. Convex at the edge and slightly depressed in the center when adult.
- The foot is eccentric .
- The blades are very decurrent , that is, they do not insert into the foot abruptly. They are born from the foot to the hat. In the photo it looks very good unlike others like the drunk for example.
If the specimen is light in color, it is possible to confuse it with toxic species of the genus Clitocybe, so it is better to discard if the hat is not a dark brownish-brown color like the one in the photo.
9. WILD MUSHROOM ( AGARICUS CAMPESTRIS )
This is easy to identify up to a point. We have put it on the list because we know it but it is not the most recommended for beginners for two reasons. The first is the confusion with poisonous, the other because mushrooms have been shown to accumulate high levels of heavy metals . For this reason, we must always take young specimens and that they are in meadows in which we know that it is not fertilized artificially and that they are not near roads or gutters.
It is the same genus as the mushroom that we buy from cultivation. This is called Agaricus bisporus
- Pink blades in young specimens . This is very distinctive. In old specimens they turn dark ocher and from there to almost blackish.
- They grow on grasses.
- Convex hat, white with scales.
- They could be confused with very toxic white Amanitas but the key is that they have white blades and also have volva. In mushrooms they are pink and black or very dark brown in old specimens.
- It is not a mushroom for beginners. There are more “safe” in terms of confusion.
10. FINE MUSHROOM OR ST. GEORGE. PERRETXIKO. THE QUEEN OF SPRING
And we come to the last of the edible mushrooms on this list. More than because it is easy to identify, we have put it in this group because it is one of the most appreciated and because it occurs in spring more than in the autumn season. From the rains in April or even already in March until well into June depending on which places. In Spain it is well known by its Basque name “Perretxiko”. It is very good edible. Like the country mushroom, being all white, it can be confused with the poisonous Amanitas themselves. For this reason, we do not put it in the top 1 of easy to identify since it requires some experience. We can find it in forest clearings, margins, under hedges.
- It has no features that set it apart especially. You have to know it well to know how to collect it but it smells like flour. We know that this is very subjective but if you know it and smell it, you will not forget.
- She whole is white, creamy.
- The sheets, tight, are white but slightly yellow. They are ivory white or off white.
As it is white, it can be confused with some Amanitas and in this case, as it also has white plates, we have more possibility of confusion. The Perrtxiko has no volva. The amanitas yes. Who knows it, can differentiate it well by the smell and because they know the setal or «perretxikal».
CAN YOU GROW EDIBLE MUSHROOMS?
The answer is a bit like a Q-bit from a quantum computer. Yes and no at the same time. Depends. Now we explain it to you.
There are some edible mushrooms that are easily cultivable such as:
- Thistle mushroom (although it does not have the flavor of the wild)
- Pleurotus ostreatus or poplar mushroom. In this article you can see the process perfectly.
- Coprinus comatus
There will be others for sure, but right now they don’t come to mind. And they cannot be cultivated. Boletus or chanterelles? Well, yes, you can, but first you have to grow seedlings of associated trees and duly mycorrhized with the mycelium of the fungus that we want to exploit. And now is when that magic word comes into play: mycorrhizae .
The etymology of the word is very clear.
AND WHAT IS IT REALLY?
In a very, very summarized way is the symbiotic association between fungus and plant . The two organisms from different kingdoms achieve mutual benefit . We can say that the fungus helps to extend the root system of the plant in an exaggerated way. This means that the plant can get more nutrients. In return, the plant excretes a series of sugars in the root that are used by the fungus in its growth.
There are mushrooms that need this association and others that do not. Those that do not need it can be cultivated without major problems in controlled conditions and substrate (industrial production in warehouses even) and those that need mycorrhizae, because first cultivate the forest and then wait for them to come out … (it is not so easy but we do not we’ll get into this in this article).
Without this we have managed to bite you to go out for mushrooms, we will have been successful. But always from the hands of someone who knows them and teaches you to identify them correctly. Get a good guide, razor and wicker basket, study first, learn, look at pictures on the internet and take healthy walks!
And if you go deeper into this world, surely than in your city, or nearby there are mycological associations that will help you identify those of which you are not sure.