Saturday, October 9, 2010

Slippery Jacks

The Short Stemmed Slippery Jacks (Suillus brevipes) started popping up over the last couple days.  These edible Bolete mushrooms grow at the edge of the root line of our Eastern White Pine grove, with which they have a mycorrhizal relationship.  They grow right at the edge of the roots and help the trees by providing easy access to minerals while the mushrooms get access to sugars, which is a form of symbiosis.  Note the Spongy underside on the large mushroom on the left.  The porous structure indicates a member of the Bolete family, which is generally a safe group of mushrooms.  Even a horrendous misidentification will only cause stomach upset, but there are some simple rules to avoid this as well.

Slippery Jack
Slippery Jacks are similar to the Porcini mushroom used in fine Italian cooking, but they have a more mild flavor.  The skins on the cap are bitter and should be removed before using the mushrooms.

Skin & Cleaned Mushroom on Right
Once the caps are removed they can be cooked or dried.  I prefer to dry them first because it concentrates the earthy flavor that makes these mushrooms worth harvesting.  Reconstituted, they are great in gravies, soups and pasta sauces.

No comments:

Post a Comment