Russula mustelina, maybe

10 Aug

20150808_120431

As a group the Russula mushrooms are extremely difficult for foragers and mycologist to identify other than for a few standouts, so field characteristics and spore stuff equally tough to figure out, the red capped Russula mushrooms may have over 100 species to choose from. Usually unless I’m 100% sure of the ID I won’t try a new mushroom for the table but Russula mushrooms are the exception as without any deadly poisonous mushrooms in my area you can experiment with this group a tiny bit. All the mushroom photos on this post are the same mushroom type at different stages of growth.

20150808_12121820150808_11305620150801_141349

I started with this brown capped Russula last year as it is the most common Russula growing in the conifer forest I also gather my Chanterelle mushrooms in. The starting point for doing this is to be able to clearly know if you are picking a Russula mushroom, if you have any doubts do not try what I mention next. After getting some sound advise from a well seasoned forager on the rules for dealing with Russulas I decided to give it a go.

20150801_14505320150801_14142220150808_112648

In my area there are probably around 10 different brownish Russula, I was already familiar with 2 of these mushrooms as for decades I would often smell the (not to be eaten) almond scented Russula which appears in good numbers in many Maritimes mixed forest and the very common Russula compacta which smells of fish oil and blackens with age, although edible R compacta has a reputation of not agreeing with everyone so that is a good enough reason to leave it off my list.

20150801_14105920150801_13371620150801_121604

So with 2 brown Russula mushrooms off my edible list it was time to try at least one of the other common ones and to do this all I had to do was take a small piece of the raw mushroom and chew it for awhile, if my mouth gets hot or the taste is unpleasant I probably have found a Russula mushroom I would not want to eat, also I should add to spit out the piece you have chewed and it is probably best not to swallow while chewing even if you have found a nice nutty flavoured Russula, so if good fortune had come your way and the taste was mild during your sampling you will have found a safe Russula for cooking and the ones in these photos are one of the many very good edible mushrooms in the Russula family.

20150808_13062820150808_122105

Once you do find a good edible Russula you probably don’t want to taste it raw ever time you gather one so next it is prudent to get familiar with its characteristics in all stages of growth. This one I suspect is R mustelina which has some traits which are quite consistent, (1) bugs do not invade even mature mushroom stem which is rare for Russula mushrooms. (2) stem is deep in soil which is rare. (3) stem is long and often is bulgy which is rare. (4) stem firm, when mature still firm but will hollow or is softening in inner core. (5) cap color is dark brown usually with some yellow shades. (6) Cap when young is sticky and usually will hold some dirt on it, it will become dry as it flattens in maturity. (7) cap peels very easily at least halfway to center. (8) little scent. (9) When cap flattens at maturity there will be brown stains midway on the gills. (10) gills firm when young, crumbly brittle when mature. (11) Mature mushroom stains brown on stem and gills, but do not blacken. (12) taste always mild. (13) In groups under conifers starting close to 1000 ft above sea level. (14) One of the first Russula mushrooms to appear in the summer in New Brunswick. If you are familiar with Russula mushrooms you will notice this one is quite unique when you add these points up.

20150721_182421

One thing I didn’t find was much N.A information on folks eating this mushroom here. In Europe it seems it is enjoyed by some folks in the mountainous areas of Spain, France and Italy with some considering it an excellent edible. It has a common name in those countries which is the weasel mushroom, but I should mention again I just eat this mushroom and officially do not know its name other than it is definitely a brown capped Russula which matches up well with info I have on R mustelina, with most other wild mushroom families this type of experimenting would be dangerous so even with the Russula mushrooms this is something you should never try unless you are a very experienced wild mushroom forager and are receiving expert advise along the way. ciao

Advertisements

4 Responses to “Russula mustelina, maybe”

  1. sophearseng2015 September 6, 2015 at 1:35 am #

    How would I know if it is safe to eat

    • 1left September 6, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

      Unless you can identify a Russula mushroom from all the other families 100%, plus be familiar with the taste of the raw flesh of several different Russula mushrooms ranging from mild to quite hot ones, it would be risky to try a mushroom which strongly resembles the mushroom pics in this post. If you are not at this time a very experienced wild mushroom forager it would be best to seek out an experienced gatherer in your local area who can point and go over thoroughly the key identification characteristics for the most common good edibles in your area. If you live in an area with lots of spruce and some elevation this mushroom may be one you could work on with your expert as they may be passing this one by and need a little nudge to take notice of, as this mushroom seems to be flying under the radar as a good edible in this country thus far.

  2. sophearseng2015 September 6, 2015 at 1:44 am #

    Do we find it down here in Quebec

    • 1left September 6, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

      The mycoquebec website list the occurrence of Russula mustelina in Quebec as occasional, usually found under spruce trees.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: