Tree Mushrooms


Tree Mushrooms -

The most famous of tree fungi is the LIVER FISTULINA (Fistulina Hepatica), commonly known in Europe as "Oak tongue," "Beefsteak Fungus," "Vegetable Beefsteak," "beef tongue," etc. Its cap, varying from two to six inches and more in breadth, has, when young, a rough reddish surface which reminds one of beef tongue, and the flesh is streaked with red and gives a reddish juice. Its taste when cooked bears a distinct resemblance to meat, and it yields a rich, brown gravy.

Another valuable variety is that known as the ELM TREE PLEUROTUS, which grows, attached by a side stem, most freely on stumps and dead branches, etc., of elm trees, though also found on other trees, such as the maple and poplar. Its cap, two to five inches broad, is generally whitish, often with a central tinting of reddish or brownish yellow. The flesh of young fruits is white, moderately tender and of agreeable flavor.

Of the same family is the OYSTER MUSHROOM (Pleurotus Ostreatus), somewhat shell shaped, white or ashy or light brown on the upper surface and white or ashy on the under-parts, with white, rather tough, flesh. It grows on dead trees and wood, generally in the early fall, attached by a short side stem or directly to the wood without any stem at all. The shells vary in size, with a maximum width of about four inches.

A fourth important fungus of similar character is the SULPHURY POLYPORUS, growing on wood and trees and in the open country. It is easily recognized by its clustered mode of growth and Orange or yellow color. The caps are often five to six inches broad, overlapping each other in tufts or clusters. The flesh is about half an inch thick and soft and juicy when young.

Gathering, Preparation, Etc. It is easy for the experienced person to distinguish edible from poisonous fungi, but it is well for the novice to confine himself to those types with which he is familiar, even at the cost of rejecting some good varieties. It is wisest, in spite of the exceptions noted in the foregoing list, for him to discard all those which are brightly colored, which change color considerably when cut or broken, which have yellow gills or give a milky juice. He should also always avoid any specimen of any kind which is infested by insects or in any degree decomposed, and should not collect mushrooms in the "button" stage, as when undeveloped it is more difficult to distinguish between those which are edible and those which are not. Morels and puff balls are safe to experiment with, as there are no poisonous varieties resembling them.

Receipts for preparing the "ordinary" mushroom are given in all cook-books.

Agarics, which include the Common, Rodman's, Horse, or "Field," and choice qualities of Button mushrooms, and Orange Amanitas, require only moderate cooking. Chantarelles and Morels, on the other hand, require long cooking - Chantarelles should also previously be soaked in warm milk for several hours. Lactarius should be soaked in a vinegar solution for several hours before cooking.


Arround Tree Mushrooms in The Grocer's Encyclopedia


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