Kitsap Peninsula Mycological Society KPMS: Amanita Kitsap Peninsula Mycological Society
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KPMS Mushroom of the Month for January 2008

This month is a 2 for 1 special of what I believe are underrated fall mushroom cousins: Lactarius deliciosus and Lactarius rubrilacteus.

Botanical:

Lactarius deliciosus
Photo © Michael Wood,
courtesy of MykoWeb

Lactarius deliciosus
Common: Delicious Milk Cap, Saffron Milk Cap
Description: Cap: 5-13 cm, convex, becoming centrally depressed and vase-shaped; margin inrolled when young, sometimes upturned in age; surface viscid when moist; color variable: various shades of orange and green arranged in concentric zones, orange often fading, while green tones continue to develop, predominating at maturity; flesh yellowish-orange, when cut yielding an orange latex soon turning green; taste, slightly bitter. Gills: close, attached or running down stem, orange, greenish in age, bleeding an orange latex that stains green. Stem: 3-6 cm tall, 1.5-2.5 cm thick, equal to sometimes tapered at the base, orange, dry, occasionally with flattened pits, bruising and staining green with age; veil absent. Spore print: creamy-buff to pale ochre.
Habitat: scattered to gregarious with conifers, often pine; more forest and road fringe than forest.
Primary keys: cap and stem snap cleanly (unless wormy), scant carrot colored latex when snapped (especially at gill/cap interface), concentrically banded cap, slow copper green staining (sometimes already present in older specimens); latex not yellow, white or purple, taste not peppery or bitter.
Edibility: Good
 
Botanical:

Lactarius rubrilacteus
Photo © Michael Wood,
courtesy of MykoWeb

Lactarius rubrilacteus (L. sanguifluus deprecated)
Common: Bleeding Milk Cap
Description: Cap: 5-12 cm, convex, becoming centrally depressed and vase-shaped; margin inrolled when young, sometimes upturned in age; surface viscid when moist; banded concentrically with shades of orange; often developing green discolorations in age; flesh thick, brittle, bleeding a sparse, dark red latex when cut; taste and odor mild. Gills: running down stem, narrow, close to crowded, dull orange, bleeding a dark red latex. Stem: 2-5 cm tall, 1.0-2.5 cm thick, solid and brittle when young, hollow in age, equal to tapered at the base; surface smooth, unpolished, dull orange-buff, bruising green where handled. Spore print: pale yellow.
Habitat: scattered to gregarious with conifers, especially Douglas fir second growth; both fringes understory
Primary keys: cap and stem snap cleanly (unless wormy), scant ruby colored latex when snapped (especially at gill/cap interface), concentrically banded cap, slow blue-green staining (sometimes already present in older specimens); latex not yellow, white or purple, taste not peppery or bitter.
Edibility: Good
 
Comments:both L. deliciosus and L. rubrilacteu have the clean snapping flesh of Russulaceae, bleeding latex of Lactarius, concentrically ringed caps and slowly green staining flesh. The former bleeds orange juice, the bands and stem are buff to orange, bruises slowly stain green, and frequently older caps show fainter staining without damage. The latter species bleeds red juice, the bands and stem are a bit darker, and the staining is more blue-green and less common with age. They both fruit throughout the fall - sometimes prolifically - with L. rubrilacteus just a bit earlier than L. deliciosus, but mixed stands with the cousins completely intermingled are common. Occasionally a much larger variant of L. deliciosus occurs (cap 15-25 cm), which makes for fast harvesting! I find L. deliciosus a nice edible mushroom, while the faint bitterness and stronger earthy flavor of L. rubrilacteu is choice in my opinion. Both species may have a slight gritty texture and/or slight sour taste with age. A notable problem with these mushrooms is that mushroom fly larvae find them more choice than we do. Perfectly healthy looking large specimens can be as soft as wet tissue paper from worm damage. Younger quick growing stands plus judicious trimming can yield a bountiful harvest.
Preserving:sauteing and freezing, drying or quick pickles. Slavic people preserve them layered with salt.

Recipe: Huevos Revueltos con Rovellon

This Spanish dish serves two for breakfast, and the side-by-side presentation features the mushrooms as a separate flavor. The recipe can also be assembled as scrambled eggs or an omelet. With more cream or half-and-half and doubling the recipe, it easily converts to a quiche filling or a frittata.

2 cups Lactarius rubrilacteus, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
4 T. olive oil
2 T. flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 T. good dry sherry
4 eggs
2 T. cream
salt and pepper to taste

Beat egg, cream, and salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat 2 T. of olive oil in skillet and saute mushrooms, onions, and garlic over medium-low heat until mushrooms are cooked and liquid has evaporated. Add sherry, salt and pepper to taste, and continue cooking and stirring until liquid has condensed into a sauce. Remove mushroom mixture and keep warm. Clean and reheat skillet. Add and heat remaining oil, then pour beaten eggs into skillet. Stir with wooden spoon periodically until the eggs are cooked soft. Place the scrambled eggs on one side of serving platter and place the mushroom mixture on the other side. Sprinkle parsley over all and serve.

Happy hunting.