Bowl Eat Us

A highly prized pore-bearing mushroom
A highly prized pore-bearing mushroom

Bad pun. This large, stout mushroom (4″ across at the top, 3″ at the base) in a cereal bowl on our counter is Boletus edulis and had it been growing along our forest path in multiples, we’d have had it with eggs or steak or soup and gone back looking for more.

This mushroom species is widespread around the world (some distribution likely in the shipping of pines and other conifers across oceans) and highly prized. It dries well and retains its flavor and is “described as nutty and slightly meaty, with a smooth, creamy texture. This mushroom has a distinct aroma reminiscent of sourdough. It has a higher water content than other edible mushrooms. When dried, Boletus edulis has more protein than all other commonly consumed vegetables apart from soybeans.” wikipedia

Long ago and far away I filled a washtub with these beauties near Speedwell, Virginia. In our exuberance, we laboriously canned many quarts of them only to learn that they turn into slimy-sluglike things if you don’t remove the porous gills before canning. We didn’t get a bite. Should have strung pieces on a string over the woodstove. Ah well.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Yummy! I would probably “poison” myself what with not knowing the 1st thing about mushroom hunting/picking…Have a safe 4th, and come visit my blog sometime…