Saffron Milk Cap Mushrooms
Inventory, lb : 0
|Food Buzz: History of Mushrooms||Listen|
Saffron milk cap mushrooms are small to medium in size with caps averaging 6-20 centimeters in diameter that are connected to short stems. The caps are convex-shaped with curled edges when young and flatten out into a slightly depressed shape with straight, flared edges when mature. The bright orange-gold caps also have a granular surface that is mostly dry but can become sticky when wet, developing a green hue with age or bruising. The flesh is firm, dense, and white, but becomes faintly tinted orange when sliced. Underneath the cap, the crowded gills are bright orange, and when cut, the gills release a white to carrot-colored, latex-like liquid. The stems are hollow and smooth, growing between 5-8 centimeters in length, and may have some spots or pits known as scrobiculations at the base. Saffron milk cap mushrooms have a fruity aroma and a crisp flesh with nutty, earthy, and woodsy flavors.
Saffron milk cap mushrooms are available in the mid-summer through fall.
Saffron milk cap mushrooms, botanically classified as Lactarius deliciosus, are one of the best-known members of the large milk-cap genus and belong to the Russulaceae family. Also known as the Red Pine mushroom, Pine mushroom, and Spruce milk cap, Saffron milk cap mushrooms are found growing under conifers such as pine or spruce and are regarded by many experts to be one of the oldest mushrooms used in culinary applications in Europe. Favored for their nutty flavor and unusual golden hue, Saffron milk cap mushrooms are considered a fall delicacy, especially in Russia and Spain, and are used in a wide variety of culinary applications.
Saffron milk cap mushrooms are high in beta-carotene, which gives these mushrooms their characteristic color. They also contain protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and calcium. It is important to note that the mushroom may cause urine to turn an orange-red color, which is a harmless side effect of eating the mushrooms.
Saffron milk cap mushrooms are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as sautéing, grilling, and boiling. They can be consumed fresh, sliced in salads, or simply dressed lightly in olive oil and salt. In Russia, they are sprinkled with salt and are left to sit in a bowl or on a plate. When the mushrooms "bleed" liquid, they are ready to eat and have a pleasant fruity flavor. Saffron milk cap mushrooms can be grilled and sautéed, and when cooking, the mushroom will infuse your dish with a saffron-orange hue. They can also be used in pasta, stuffing, soups, stews, served on toast, cooked in cream-based sauces and served over meat such as poultry or beef, pickled, or dried and ground as a flavoring agent for stocks and sauces. Saffron milk cap mushrooms pair well with parsley, rosemary thyme, cumin seed, chives, onions, garlic, meats such as steak, poultry, lamb, pork, and fish, eggs, cauliflower, stinging nettles, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, lemon juice, bitter orange juice, red wine, yogurt, and Marcona almonds. They will keep up to five days when stored stem-up in a paper bag in a refrigerator. They can also be cooked and stored in the freezer in a sealed bag for several months.
Saffron milk cap mushrooms are common in Russia where they are fondly known as Rhzhiki, which means “redhead” in Russian. These mushrooms are highly prized and are a large part of the country’s culture. When Russian children learn the alphabet, they are taught that “g” is for “gryb,” which is Russian for “mushroom” and there are even tasting rooms set up as tourist attractions to try the mushroom. Saffron milk cap mushrooms are commonly pickled so they can be used throughout the winter season in Russia. In addition to culinary uses, Saffron milk cap mushrooms were used in folk medicine to reduce symptoms of jaundice, coughs, and asthma.
Saffron milk cap mushrooms are native to regions in Europe and Asia and have been growing since ancient times. They were first described in 1753 by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in Species Plantarum but were reclassified in 1821. Today Saffron milk cap mushrooms are available in the wild and at local markets in Europe, specifically in England, Ireland, Spain, France, and Poland, and in Asia in Russia. They have also been introduced to regions in New Zealand, Australia, Chile, and the United States.
Recipes that include Saffron Milk Cap Mushrooms. One is easiest, three is harder.