ARE ALL BOLETUS GOOD? NOT ALL! … BUT ALMOST ALL
The Boletus or family of boletales have become in recent decades, highly coveted species when autumn arrives. So much so that there are real mafias prowling the forests in search of such a precious mushroom to sell it later without any control. It is always said that there is no possible confusion and although it is true that they are relatively easy to identify, we must take certain precautions.
THE BOLETUS ARE A SMALL PART OF THE BOLETALES
The boletales are a group of fungi that make up families and genera within which is the genus of the Boletus . Therefore we can have bulletins whose scientific name does not have to begin with the word Boletus . Some examples are the Chalciporus, Leccinum (of this there has been some adaptation to other genres), Gyrosporus, Xerocomus and more… Therefore when it is said that the Boletus are boletus , it is true but the boletales are not just Boletus .
WHAT MAINLY CHARACTERIZES THE BOLETUS?
Once that small classification is made, we get into the Boletus genre . The classification of mushrooms is done mainly by their morphology and precisely the hymenium is what first when determining a gender or order. In the case of the Boletus , it is very characteristic since it presents a spongy shape instead of the classic laminar morphology. This makes gender identification relatively easy, but we must never get lost. We have heard many times that boletus are easy to identify and that there can be no confusion. Be careful… it will be difficult but not impossible . Next we are going to look at some of the most famous edible species and some that are not or have little value, and even some toxic.
Fortunately we have to say that almost all of them are edible. For this reason it is relatively “easy” to go looking for Boletus if you are not an expert mycologist. Within the classification according to edibility, there are excellent, acceptable or good, mediocre, inedible and toxic.
One of the best known and appreciated along with Boletus edulis and Boletus pinophilus . Between the three we can get confused because they can be very similar but there is no problem because all three are considered excellent edibles. The most notable differences between the three is the color of the hat. In this case, the hat is darker brown, even reaching almost black, and this may be the most characteristic difference with respect to B. edulis and B. pinophilus.
This has been the Boletus that has given the genre the most fame. This is characterized by having a white meat, viscous hat if the environment is humid, with a light brown color, tending to ocher (difference with B. aereus). The pores of the hymenium are usually creamy-white to yellow and even greenish when they are very mature, like B. aereus.
Its hat color is more brownish to reddish, a characteristic that makes it somewhat different from the previous two. The taste is somewhat different but also very good and appreciated. This is typical to find it in the westernmost areas of the peninsula such as Extremadura and the southwestern part of Castilla y León.
The color of the pores in all three begins being white or cream when they are young, yellowish as they grow and greenish when they are mature. All those Boletus whose pores (hymenium) do not have that range of colors (red, pink, very bright yellow etc. belong to less appreciated or inedible Boletus so it can be a fast track along with the hat color to discriminate and separate the really good ones from the rest.
ONE OF THE GREAT ADVANTAGES IS THAT THESE 3 GOOD ONES ARE FREQUENT AND THE REST NOT SO MUCH, WHICH MAKES POSSIBLE CONFUSION MORE DIFFICULT.
SOME ACCEPTABLY EDIBLE BOLETUS
Here we have a somewhat larger group. Let’s say that the previous three are the most appreciated for their aromas that are reminiscent of hazelnut in the first two and a somewhat sweeter flavor in the third. From here the category begins to descend and although they are not excellent, they are perfectly edible and not bad taste. The textures or hardness of some are what can classify them in a lower category. Of these we are not going to put images all the images or characteristics. Just name them and give a specific characteristic. Between them we have:
Boletus regius (This is rare to find in Spain).
Boletus spretus (It is not very common either. The hat is very bright pink, even red or coppery pink).
Boletus impolitus (Not common)
Boletus fechtneri (The foot is somewhat pink in the central part. It is difficult to confuse it with Boletus satanas, but when in doubt and not being an expert, it is better to discard)
Boletus dupainii (rare to find it, it is not as good as others and it is also protected so it is forbidden to take it)
REGULAR AND BAD BOLETUS
From here, all the ones that we are going to name are either not edible or they are regular and have no real culinary value. That is, much better to go to a cultivated mushroom. = P
Boletus fragrans (regular / bad. Acid taste)
Boletus calopus (inedible. Unpleasant bitter taste)
Boletus pulverulentus (the name says it all. It is tasteless, odorless and a taste that says nothing)
Boletus luridus (smells and tastes little)
TOXIC BOLETUS . THEY ARE NOT COMPLICATED TO IDENTIFY BUT ALWAYS ATTENTIVE!
And here we have the bad guys from the movie. Fortunately, they are easily identifiable and therefore we will reject them at the slightest suspicion.
It is poisonous so watch out for this one. Luckily it is not easily confused with the first 3 (edulis, aereus and pinophilus) since it has a dirty white color on the hat, with a red foot in the central part, yellow in the upper part and it also smells bad. The meat, when cut, becomes slightly bluish. (Our advice) If you see any pinkish coloration on the foot of any boletus, discard it. None of the excellent edibles have red or pinkish colorations so there is no need to risk it.
Another of the examples of the genre that are toxic and also common in Spain. This is very easy to identify for a number of reasons. The first is that it has a yellow foot covered with a red reticule that makes it very characteristic. Secondly, the pores when they are young are yellow and can confuse us but as they grow they are reddish orange and at the end when they mature a very striking bloody red color. The most identifiable feature is that the meat in the hat when cut lengthwise turns bluish.
There is another whose toxicity is doubted due to its rarity. It is the B oletus luteocupreus and the foot is very similar to the B. rhodoxanthus (yellow and reticulated in red) so if we cross it it can be either of the two and neither is good therefore there is no doubt.
Our advice is to study well all the morphological characteristics of the first 3 ( B. edulis, B. aereus and B. pinophilus ) and those that are toxic to know very well that what we are collecting are good Boletus.