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Due to the pleasant and delicate taste, winter mushrooms are actively used for culinary purposes. Their fruit bodies are pickled and salted, added to soups and sauces. Although mushrooms become slimy after heat treatment, the palatability does not change.
Appearance of winter mushrooms
The second name of the mushrooms, indicating their external features - velvet-legged flammulin. The diameter of the flat-round hat is from 2 to 10 cm. The surface layer is smooth, bare, mucous. Color is yellow or with the addition of an orange or brown tint. With increased humidity, the center becomes noticeably darker than the transparent-striped edge.
Young specimens have edges wrapped inward, which, when the fungus grows older, straightens. An interesting feature is that the color palette of fruits varies depending on the host wood.
Plates of white or light ocher color can be free or connected to a leg. The older the fruit, the color of the plates is darker and wider. The flesh of the fleshy cap is light yellow, exuding a pleasant mushroom aroma. The leg is cylindrical in shape and has an elastic and dense structure. As the fetus grows slightly bent. At the base, velvety with a dark brown color. The upper part is noticeably lighter.
Where winter mushrooms grow in Russia
Flammulina settles in any place with a temperate climate, where there is a massif of trees with weakened trees. It can be a forest, park, garden or ordinary street. The fungus prefers to parasitize on hardwood. As a result, the tree dries and dies.
The fabrics of hats when frozen turn into glass, but thaw with a spring thaw, losing their fragility. Spores are formed on the living plates, ready for germination. The wind carries spore powder, contributing to the resettlement of mushrooms, forming new colonies in damaged areas of the cortex. Infection of garden trees has a detrimental effect on the entire garden, therefore, it is recommended to destroy the affected parts of a tree or shrub, and process the places of cuts and cracks with a garden var.
Where to collect winter mushrooms
Season and rules for collecting winter mushrooms
Flammulina is found all year round. However, in the warm season, it bears less fruit. The peak of harvest occurs in the coldest months: from November to February. There are times when the yield of mushrooms is observed in May.
The growth of winter mushrooms begins when the temperature drops to 10 degrees. They love chilly and rainy weather. In frosty times, the fruits freeze, and during thawing they continue to grow, and the thawed fruits do not lose their elasticity and taste.
A bright orange cluster of fruits of different sizes is often found at a height of more than 3 m, which complicates their collection. It is most convenient to pick mushrooms growing on stumps.
Before setting off to collect winter trophies, It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the important mushroom picking rules:
- No need to pluck very small mushrooms.
- The fruiting body must be cut off at the very base without damaging the mycelium.
- Torn mushrooms should be cleaned of debris before being put in a basket or bucket.
- You can not take fruits whose body is damaged, because they contain dangerous and toxic substances.
- It is better to put mushrooms in a basket with their hats down.
It is not recommended to store fresh mushrooms for a long time. They must be processed immediately.
The composition and taste of winter mushrooms
Despite the fact that honey agarics belong to the conditionally edible category of mushrooms, they are known for their beneficial properties. They contain:
- amino acids;
Thanks to phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper and a large amount of protein found in the fruit body, the use of mushrooms helps in the treatment and prevention of many ailments. The content of healing components helps prevent cancer.
The pulp of the mushrooms is tender, and the taste is pleasant. They are great for salting, marinating, frying and boiling. Winter mushrooms can be used as a filling for pies, add to meat and salads. Although mushroom dishes are very tasty, some cooks do not like them because of their unpleasant slippery appearance.
How to distinguish winter mushroom from false species
Going on a quiet hunt important to rememberthat there are inedible and poisonous species of mushrooms, similar to edible representatives. In order not to be poisoned by the doubles of honey agarics, one should have certain knowledge that will help distinguish a false mushroom from a fruit suitable for consumption.
- The edible appearance in the upper part of the leg is a membranous ring, similar to a skirt.
- Young edible mushrooms have small darkish scales on their hats, which disappear when they grow up.
- The color of the false specimens is much brighter.
- The smell from a winter mushroom is more pleasant than from its false representative, which smells of mold.
- The cream color of the plates under the hat of edible mushrooms differs from the greenish or olive-black plates of inedible species.
The main feature that distinguishes the winter mushroom from its counterparts is the fruiting time.
Features winter mushrooms
Primary processing and preparation features of winter mushrooms
The first step is to clean the debris from the mushrooms. In order to make it easier to separate adhering leaves and weed, honey mushrooms should be poured with cold water and covered with a press. Water needs to be salted, then the larvae and insects will leave the fruits. In salt water, the fruits should be no more than three hours. Then rinse them with clean water. To avoid deformation, they must be pulled out of the tank with a colander. Debris that remains on the fruiting bodies must be removed with a knife, as well as cut off damaged and dark areas.
Heat treatment of winter mushrooms should last at least 40 minutes. For mushroom soup, it is advisable to use only caps containing protein. Frozen or dried plant product tolerates long-term storage. Salted mushrooms can not be stored for more than a year, since the risk of contracting botulism increases. For salting, you need to use only hot marinade.
Features of growing winter mushrooms in the garden
Contrary to the opinion that independent cultivation of honey mushrooms requires a lot of effort, it is not difficult to breed them.
Under natural conditions, mushrooms grow on deadwood or rotten wood.. In view of this, it is necessary to create conditions in the garden plot as close as possible to natural conditions. Since honey agarics do not settle on all tree species, stumps from alder, birch, beech, aspen, willow, maple, poplar, oak, and ash should be prepared. The most suitable are rotten or slightly rotten stumps with cracks in the cortex. Such wood will allow spores to take root better.
How to cook mushrooms
If the trunk is without chips, they should be done with an ax in the upper part and on the sides. Low stumps (up to 30 cm) must be placed in water for a couple of hours, after which they should be dug in the area planned for growing mushrooms. It is better to choose a place shaded and with high humidity. Depth of digging is selected depending on the length of the barrel. You can bury half or almost a whole stump to the top.
Mycelium for breeding can be purchased at specialized points of sale or procured independently. For these purposes, instances with massive hats are suitable. Mushrooms should be soaked in water and left for several hours. Then you need to treat the stumps with water and lay out the hats. Lay moss or sawdust on top. Harvest will appear only after 2 - 3 years. In the summer, the wood needs to be moistened, otherwise the mycelium will dry out. Honey mushrooms can grow in the complete absence of lighting. In this case, their color will turn white, but the taste will remain the same.
Winter mushrooms are able to withstand enormous environmental pollution. This hatched species is considered the only one capable of growing in the central part of a large city or on the side of the highway. But collecting such mushrooms is prohibited, since they accumulate harmful elements in themselves.