Home | Funghi porcini

Porcini Mushrooms. Tips, Secrets, and Techniques to Easily Find Them

we delve into the world of porcini mushrooms and their gathering process. Discover the tricks, secrets, and valuable tips that make finding these delectable fungi a breeze.

by BioGrow

Today we are talking about porcini mushrooms and their collection. Of course, discussing the entire world of mushrooms in an organic manner would require a very long and complex treatment. Regional regulations for collection, in fact, often require the issuance of a card or the payment of a small fee for environmental compensation. That being said, here we want to focus our attention on the porcini mushrooms, specifically the most well-known and present in our territory.

Let’s learn how to identify this variety with absolute certainty, where to find them, and during which period they naturally grow in the woods. We will also understand how to harvest them correctly, following some technical precautions and, above all, respecting nature.

How to identify porcini mushrooms

Chestnut porcini mushroom

Chestnut porcini mushroom

Porcini mushrooms belong to the wide family of fungi of the genus Boletus.
Mycologists have identified and classified up to 12 different species.
The most well-known is the Boletus Edulis, precisely the common porcini.
To recognize this species, one must observe its morphological characteristics.
These characteristics are:

  • Cap: it has a variable diameter, usually ranging from 5 to 25 cm, with a compact and fleshy consistency, cup-shaped. The color varies from light brown to dark brown, with a tendency to be lighter along the edges. The surface of the cap is slightly moist, not velvety but rather rough.
  • Tubes: the lower part of the cap is initially white, then yellowish. They are long and almost free, easily detaching from the cap.
  • Pores: they go through several stages, initially closed and thin. As soon as they open, they are white or grayish, turning yellow when mature.
  • Stem: it has a variable diameter and length, very thick and solid. Initially, it is pale white, and as it matures, it resembles the color of the cap, becoming brownish.
  • The flesh, always white in color, even after drying (at most tending to light hazelnut). Tasty, firm, and fragrant.
  • The spores have an olive-brown color.

Where porcini mushrooms grow

Common porcini mushrooms grow under different trees and at different latitudes. Starting from the altitude of 700-800 meters above sea level in a chestnut forest, they grow under oaks and beeches. At heights up to 1500-1600 meters, they are found in pine forests.

When do porcini grow?

The spontaneous appearance of porcini mushrooms spans across three seasons. They usually grow between spring and summer, from late May to early June. Then, if weather conditions are favorable, i.e., in the case of summer rainfall, they start appearing in the woods by the end of August. However, it is the months of September and October that offer the most satisfaction, especially in rainy years at the beginning of September. The harvest continues throughout October and may even extend into November.
Of course, these are general indications. In a normal season, mushrooms are greatly influenced by weather conditions. There may be more favorable years, with exceptional harvests, and others less so, with more challenging searches. Naturally, the market price of porcini mushrooms is heavily influenced by this factor. The fundamental condition for mushroom growth, however, is simple: first, it must rain, and then it must be warm.
However, be cautious about the presence of wind. For instance, the scirocco and tramontana winds can hinder their growth.

Other relevant porcini mushroom species

The considerations made so far apply to common porcini mushrooms, Boletus edulis. However, it is interesting to discover the other species that, more or less frequently, can be found in our woods. Let’s limit the identification to the species that are most appreciated from an organoleptic point of view and, therefore, have a higher commercial value. Let’s see what they are.

Black porcini mushroom

Black porcino - Boletus aereus

Black porcino – Boletus aereus

The first variety we propose is Boletus Aereus, better known as black porcini or “bronzino.” This mashroom is the most prized type.
It is a fungus that is easily recognizable, very compact and robust. It differs from the classic porcini mushroom in the color of its cap, which is very dark, almost black. The black porcini mushroom prefers broadleaf forests (especially chestnuts, oaks, beeches, and holm oaks) and also grows on sandy soils. It can be found from northern to southern Italy, although not easily and not everywhere.

Summer porcini mushroom

Mushrooms porcini boletus-aestivalis

Mushrooms-porcini – Boletus aestivalis

Another species is represented by Boletus Aestivalis, better known as summer porcini mushrooms, a very common variety.
It prefers forests of oak, beech, and chestnut trees for its growth.
It is recognizable by its lighter color compared to the common porcini mushroom.
Furthermore, its cap tends to crack in hot, dry weather.
Summer porcini mushrooms are widespread throughout the national territory and can be found from May to September.
Its organoleptic qualities are very good, similar to those of the classic porcini mushroom.

Pine porcini mushroom

Mushrooms porcini red boletuspinophilus

Red porcino – Boletus pinophilus

Another highly prized species is Boletus pinophilus, better known as pine porcini mushroom or red porcini mushroom. It is easily recognizable by the color of its cap, which tends to be reddish. The stem is dark, very thick, and compact.
It grows among pine trees, at altitudes above 1200 meters, typically in autumn, but it also makes appearances in spring. It is one of the most sought-after varieties and is highly valued by enthusiasts.

Harvesting porcini mushrooms, practical tips

porcini chestnut forest

Chestnut forest

Harvesting porcini mushrooms is a practice that requires a lot of experience, especially regarding knowledge of the woods and the territory.
It is essential not to leave room for improvisation and to go to well-known places frequented by other enthusiasts. This, of course, could be counterproductive due to the “competition,” but it is an important precaution to avoid getting lost.
It is also a good practice to inform someone about the route you choose to take. This way, you can be located in case of problems, such as sudden changes in weather conditions.
The woods should be searched for mushrooms by moving in a zigzag pattern. It is also a good idea to start from the bottom and move upwards, so that you can spot mushrooms when you come out of the trail.
Moreover, there are rules to respect in the woods to safeguard the ecosystem itself. Here are some of them.

Rules to Respect Nature During Mushroom Collection

Let’s now see the rules to follow when we want to collect porcini mushrooms:

  • First and foremost, it is not allowed to use rakes or similar tools to disturb the undergrowth. This applies to porcini mushrooms as well as any other fungus. Instead, you can use a simple wooden stick. Indiscriminate digging can damage the undergrowth and the mushroom’s own reproduction. If you really want to find them, don’t stop at the first glance; often, mushrooms are hidden by vegetation. Moreover, they grow in places that are difficult to spot at first glance.
  • Another fundamental rule for respecting nature is to avoid collecting poisonous or inedible mushrooms just for the sake of it and then leaving them on the ground. Every element of the forest has its role and should be respected.
  • An important prohibition is to use plastic bags or closed containers for transport. It is good practice to use a basket so that spores can fall to the ground and generate further mushrooms. Alternatively, you can use special mushroom baskets or backpacks, which are very convenient. These specialized backpacks have a rigid structure and are open at the bottom to allow for the dispersion of spores.
  • A good practice, as soon as you pick a mushroom, is to let its spores fall in the place where you found it. Ideally, you should try to remember that place (and keep it to yourself). This way, there is a good chance of finding other mushrooms in the same spot the following year.
  • Another piece of advice is to avoid picking too young porcini mushrooms that have not reached the proper maturity.
  • Also, avoid collecting specimens that are in a state of decay or moldy.
  • For collecting, it is recommended to use a mushroom knife (Opinel). This way, you can easily cut the mushroom from underneath without causing damage.

Warning for Beginners

Finally, a fundamental warning, especially for beginners, is to have the collected mushrooms checked by someone knowledgeable. Usually, there are specific health offices for identification. The number of mushroom species present in a forest can be countless. If you don’t have absolute knowledge in the field, it is best to avoid unnecessary risks.
Now, we wish you good luck and, above all, a satisfying mushroom harvest!

How to Cook Porcini Mushrooms

Regardless of the type of porcini collected, the preparation of these mushrooms in the kitchen offers numerous recipes. It is a pillar of Italian culinary tradition and can be cooked in various ways. With some adjustments (such as eliminating butter), different preparations can be perfect for those who love vegetarian and vegan cuisines as well.

Tagliatelle with Porcini Mushrooms

Tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms is a recipe appreciated throughout Italy. It is a hearty dish that carries all the substance of fresh pasta, often still homemade today.

Ingredients

  • Tagliatelle
  • Porcini mushrooms
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Black pepper
  • Butter
  • Parsley
  • Salt

Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Another classic preparation is porcini mushroom risotto. This first course is probably the quintessential autumn recipe. It requires a fairly simple preparation but respecting the right cooking times.

Ingredients

  • Carnaroli rice
  • Porcini mushrooms
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • Garlic
  • Black pepper
  • Vegetable broth
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Parsley

Sautéed Porcini Mushrooms

Sautéed porcini mushrooms are a delicious side dish, easy to cook, and a perfect accompaniment to any main course. They particularly pair well with meat dishes like roasts, fillets, or scaloppine. However, vegan cuisine lovers can also pair them nicely with classic polenta.

Ingredients

  • Porcini mushrooms
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Parsley

Grilled Pumpkin and Porcini Mushrooms

A vegetarian alternative to the classic meat-based grill is the grilled organic pumpkin and porcini mushrooms. It is a late summer dish, perfect to enjoy in good company, perhaps outdoors, in your own garden.

Ingredients

  • Organic pumpkin
  • Porcini mushrooms
  • Rosemary
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • Salt

Further Reading

  • University of Utah: “A Tale of Terroir: Porcini Mushrooms Have Evolved with a Preference for Local Adaptation” – This article presents a first-of-its-kind genetic survey of porcini mushrooms across the Northern Hemisphere.
  • University of Minnesota: “Porcini Mushrooms Through the Ages” – This resource discusses the symbiotic relationship of these mushrooms with certain trees known as mycorrhizae in most temperate forests of the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Carnegie Mellon University: “Porcini Mushroom Pasta Sauces” – This resource discusses how robust, earthy sauces banish any notions of bland, watery mushrooms. The challenge: Fresh porcini mushrooms are wonderful in hearty, robust pasta sauces.

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Adblock Detected

This site stays alive thanks to the revenue derived from the advertising banners. By disabling your AdBlocker extension, you will allow us to continue offering free and high-quality content. Thank you.