Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mushrooms Identified - Honey Mushrooms

Honey Mushroom Sizes

Cooler weather in New England brings about a whole new group of mushrooms, including the honey mushrooms (Armillaria mellea). They are named for their cap color, which resembles honey, and not for their taste. An uncle of mine who was interested in hunting, fishing and foraging used to gather these a long time ago, and I remember I wasn't terribly fond of them as they can become slimy if cooked incorrectly. Some people will experience unpleasant  lower gastrointestinal symptoms from ingesting honeys, and it is recommended that you eat small quantities at first, and cook honey mushrooms very well. None of us have experienced any problems with this mushroom, so Robert can gather them in large quantities. We have come across several trees ringed with honeys this autumn, and cooked some in Honey Mushroom Paprikas, froze some, and dehydrated even more for future use.

Honey Mushroom Paprikas with Dumplings

This is one of the few gilled mushrooms we are comfortable gathering, as there are several characteristics that will positively identify a honey mushroom. There are several poisonous look-alikes, so we often have our honey mushrooms examined by an expert if we are not 100% sure of the ID.They fruit in late August through November in our area, and grow clustered at the base of a tree and near stumps. Honey mushrooms will kill a tree, and often indicate that the tree is dying. They produce black, stringlike runners called rhizomorphs underground that help the honey mushroom's mycelium spread.

The cap's color is variable, mostly shades of golden yellow and brown. The surface of the cap is dry, but it can become slimy if wet. Fresh mushrooms have small, black hairs or scaly tufts near the center of the cap. The cap is the edible and desirable when young, firm and the flesh is white, and may be used as a substitute for shitakes in stir-fry dishes. The caps are 1"-4" (3-10 cm) wide, convex, becoming flat with a central knob.

The gills of the honey mushroom are attached to the stalk, often running just a bit down the stalk. They are white to yellowish, darkening with age and staining to rust color when bruised. The stalk is 2"-6" (5-15 cm) long, fibrous, and colored whitish near the gills and yellowish along the stalk. A ring is always present from the partial veil, and it is cottony white to yellowish.The spore print of a honey mushroom is white.

Honey Mushroom Sporeprint


Dave Homrok said...

Great blog! Please keep it up. I'm also in CT and like you have found tons of C.fallax this year (saw your post on CVMS mssg board).

I've got a few mushroom entries on my blog as well: but I need more.

D Homrok

Meredith said...

The one time I went mushroom hunting, we found some honey mushrooms but weren't 100% sure so we didn't eat them. We just stuck to the puff balls. Thanks for the guide!

Kristina said...

I definitely have to go on a "mushroom hunt" to learn more about identifying them on my own. Thank you for sharing.

PharmacyCPA said...

This site is awesome maybe we can work together? I run Online mushroom course and this blog aswell...