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Wild mushroom time again


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In Yunnan every summer after the rains begin we get a lot of wild mushrooms that grow in the mountains. They are harvested and brought to market daily in small villages and in the larger cities alike. Everyone looks forward to wild mushroom season; they are one of Yunnan's most famous treats. Late July and early August constitute the harvest peak.

Yunnan is the mushroom capital of China and probably the richest place for wild mushrooms in the world. 850 edible species are said to grow here. https://mycotopia.ne...nnan-china.html Last year Yunnan exported $100,000,000 USD worth of them to other countries.

Unfortunately, they also always make the news because quite a few people (hundreds, not thousands) get poisoned from eating them. I saw a report just last night on the 6 o'clock Yunnan news, featuring worrisome footage of interviews with relatives of people who ate them. The interviews took place in the waiting room of a local hospital's ICU.

Local government has banned serving them at large events such as banquets and weddings because of the mass casualty scenario it would present if bad mushrooms were used or they were not cooked properly.

Some varieties are more tricky than others. I always stick to the safer varieties and every year try to concentrate on buying and cooking only one kind. My theory is that this will hopefully increase proficiency in selection and preparation, and thereby favorably impact safety.

The last two years I worked with niu gan jun/牛肝菌, though I ate lots of other kinds in restaurants。Scientifically, they are a type of boletus, and some are similar to porcini. http://baike.baidu.com/view/21737.htm

This year I've been making qing tou jun/青头菌 a couple times a week, trying to get to the point that I can handle them easily. I've been fortunate in having two middle-aged Kunming housewives as friends, and they have helped me learn the ropes, from buying them wisely to how to clean, cook and eat them. http://baike.baidu.com/view/124535.htm

Not sure I should really post a recipe here since I would feel bad if you ran into trouble. Furthermore, my liability insurance would not cover your untimely demise. But if you live in a "mushroom rich environment," you can ask some of your older Chinese friends how to make them safely.

They can be delicious and are well worth the trouble.

post-20301-0-95199100-1375921029_thumb.jpg post-20301-0-10804400-1375921058_thumb.jpg

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I think I've seen them around here (Central Europe), there is a local name for them that sounds very familiar so they might be quite common, but I had no idea they were edible. I remember as a child I was always taught to never pick any mushrooms that are white and green and white and red.

I would love to try these now that I know they're not poisonous.Thanks for this post!

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#3 -- @SuEn -- I can't swear that they are the same. These have prominent gills underneath. The center of the cap is often concave, forming a small dimple in the middle right over the stem, instead of being concave.

For whatever it's worth, they are considered one of the safest (least likely to be toxic) of the local wild mushrooms. Furthermore they also don't have any dangerous "look alikes" with which they can easily be confused, and that also makes them a safer choice.

Several of the wild mushrooms in this region can be eaten if they are cooked a long time (usually 20 minutes or so) but are quite toxic if cooked for too short a time. Is that characteristic of some of the wild mushrooms in your part of Central Europe too?

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Is it this one?

Russula virescens is a basidiomycete mushroom of the genus Russula, and is commonly known as the green-cracking Russula, the quilted green Russula, or the green brittlegill.


I've heard a lot of people pick all kinds of Russula mushrooms but I think it requires a little bit more experience and knowledge. My parents never taught me how to distinguish them. I think they were worried we would mix them up with Amanita mushrooms. I just googled it and the green Russula obviously looks a little different than the Deathcap mushroom but I found multiple sources that warn people these two are look alikes.

Yes, a lot of our edible mushrooms are either toxic raw or they have to be cooked for a long time to be completely safe for consumption. Off the top of my head I can think of Armillaria mushrooms.

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That does look similar though I'm not sure it's the same.

I would never go mushroom picking myself; I just don't know enough. What I try to do is find one vendor who I trust and always buy from him or her. If I don't see that vendor at the market, I don't buy mushrooms that day.

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Yeah, that sounds pretty safe. The law here bans the sale of many wild mushrooms. I would buy them if someone I trust was selling them. Are restaurants making these, too? I'm leaving for China soon and I'd love to try some wild mushrooms. I'm not going to Yunnan and I imagine the mushroom situation might be a bit different up north but still, I'm curious what kinds of dishes I should be on the lookout for. I've had some "野菌" dishes but they were all pretty common mushrooms.

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Yes, restaurants in China serve wild mushroom dishes. I've had some good ones in Dongbei as well as in Yunnan.

Here in Kunming mushroom hotpot restaurants are popular. They usually have half a dozen varieties in a cooler where you select the kinds you want. You also select what kind of broth you want; chicken is popular.

Then the kitchen staff cleans and slices your mushrooms. A waitress cooks them for you at your table. She adds them one kind at a time according to how long that variety takes to cook. She won't let you do it yourself, because that can be risky. She stays right there until they all have cooked long enough. Then she lets you dig in. You dip the mushroom slices in a small dish of spicy dipping sauce.

Usually you have also selected some other vegetables which you can add to the broth to finish off the meal. Wild mushrooms can be expensive, and a meal at one of these places often costs twice as much as you would pay for a similar hot pot meal made with more usual ingredients, including meat.

Hope you find some tasty ones up north. Dongbei exports quite a lot of mushrooms to Korea and Japan, especially songrong jun/松茸菌,which are highly prized. They are also called "pine mushooms" or matsutake.

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@Liuzhou, that's a terrific post! You are a formidable resource, and I learned a lot. Also, I had not seen that food blog before; it looks like where the "big boys" play. I'm not in that league, but will be back to study it some more later.

I'm amazed that your region gets so many winter varieties fresh. Not sure we do, or at least I don't recall seeing them. Seems like mostly 香菇 are for sale fresh in the cooler months here, and they are cultivated/人工菌, instead of being wild/野生菌.

Plus of course we, like you, have the "always" fungi such as 木耳 and the white fluffy ones you pictured (I forget the Chinese name just now.) The stores have a lot of dried ones.

I always keep a sharp lookout for the time when the wild varieties start coming in after the late spring rains begin. I've been cautioned by old timers not to buy the earliest ones because they allegedly contain more toxins. They always urge me to wait a while until the season is in full swing.

Do you have any idea what the 青头菌 that I referred to above in post #1 are called elsewhere? Do you get them in Guangxi?

BTW, really professional photos.

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Thanks abcdefg. You will have me blushing.

The posts were a labour of love and yes, it is a relatively professional / serious site. Usually.

No. I've never come across the 青头菌. But then, there are quite a few varieties that people ask me about and I just end up feeling like Mr. Know Nothing.

The red mushroom (红椎菌) season here in Guangxi has been a bit of a wipeout. The rains didn't just trigger their growth. It drowned them and the super hot weather didn't help either. I was really disappointed. The long planned trip with my dear friend who knows where they hide in the mountains and forests has been cancelled to our mutual devastation. Next year maybe.

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Do you have any idea what the 青头菌 that I referred to above in post #1 are called elsewhere?

Your 青头菌 seem to be known as Quilted Green Russula or just Green Russula. The Latin name is Russula virescens. The relevant Wikipedia article also gives alternative names - Green-Cracking Russula or the Green Brittlegill.

EDIT; Oops. Just noticed that SuEn has already mentioned this. Apologies

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#13 -- Those look about right, though the ones in the market usually have a thinner cap. Probably a variant. Appreciate the links.

Kunming has a mushroom institute where they will look at your mushrooms and tell you what kind they are, among other services. They are a basically an industry-focused research and development outfit where growers can go to get production, shipping, and market advice.

But I've heard they also have a small dining room where you can try various mushrooms, cooked up for a price. I've been meaning to go there for the last two or three years. They could probably tell me a lot about the local ones, including the scientific names of less common varieties.

If I can manage to put together a field trip this year, I'll definitely report it.

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Kunming has a mushroom institute where they will look at your mushrooms and tell you what kind they are, among other services.

Yes Guangxi has the same - in Nanning, but I've never been either, They had some kind of trade show last week., but from what I've read it was just the usual patting themselves on the back.

"Thanks to Deng Xiao Ping Theory and the Outstanding Leadership of the Glorious Party, mushrooms are still mushrooms."

"Kept in the dark and fed shit."

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