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Hanaiguchi mushrooms are medium to large in size, averaging 4-12 centimeters in diameter, and have an umbrella-shaped, convex cap that can extend out to be almost flat connecting to a thin cylindrical stem. The cap is sticky, viscous, and shiny appearing wet and ranges in color from red, brown, to yellow with slightly wavy edges. Underneath the cap, there are many small pores that also range in color from brown, orange, rust, to red. The semi-woody stem is slender with a burnt orange hue, and when sliced it reveals a cream-colored center. The stem averages 5-7 centimeters in height, and there may be flaky scales and rings surrounding the stem from a partial membrane also known as a veil. When cooked, Hanaiguchi mushrooms release a garlic-pine aroma and are firm, supple, and watery with a mild, earthy flavor.
Hanaiguchi mushrooms are available in the late summer through fall.
Hanaiguchi mushrooms, botanically classified as Suillus grevillei, are wild, edible mushrooms that belong to the Suillaceae family. Also known as Grevillei’s bolete and Larch bolete, Hanaiguchi mushrooms are foraged from coniferous forests in Europe and Asia and are found under larch trees. The word suillus is derived from the word pig in Latin, which is a reference to the mushroom’s slimy, wet appearance and similarity to a pig’s snout. Hanaiguchi mushrooms are predominately harvested by mushroom hunters in heavily wooded areas in remote Japan, spending months at a time in mostly obscure and undocumented regions. This is a common practice among foragers throughout timber communities around the world, but the Hanaiguchi's flamboyant orange hues make them easier to spot among the forest floor versus many other nondescript mushrooms.
Hanaiguchi mushrooms contain potassium, iron, copper, zinc, folate, and magnesium.
Hanaiguchi mushrooms must be cooked prior to consumption and are best suited for applications such as boiling or sautéing. Before cooking, the mushroom caps should be peeled, and any slimy or slippery membranes should be removed from the surface. Once prepared, Hanaiguchi mushrooms are favored for use in soups due to their firm, juicy consistency and are especially utilized for miso soup. They can also be sliced, dried, and rehydrated when needed for extended use. Hanaiguchi mushrooms pair well with chiles, garlic, ginger, leeks, shallots, foods cooked over charcoal or wood, chicory, butter, vinegars, other foods rich in umami such as seaweed, cheese, beer, braised meat, fermented soy and scallops, and spices such as cardamom, cumin, and smoked pimientos. They will keep for a couple of days when stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator.
In Japan, Hanaiguchi mushrooms are highly consumed, and Japan has one of the highest per capita mushroom consumption globally. Mushrooms provide many vitamins, minerals, and protein to create a balanced meal in Japanese dishes. Most popular in the Nagano prefecture in Japan, Hanaiguchi mushrooms are called “Rikobou” and are often used in soups and stir-fries. The mushroom is also popular in Scotland and was named after mycologist Robert Kaye Grevillei.
Hanaiguchi mushrooms have been growing in the wild since ancient times and are found within the Larch forests of Japan. Today Hanaiguchi mushrooms are also found where larch trees have been introduced, are foraged from the wild, and are sold at farmers markets and specialty grocers in Asia and Europe.