The King Bolete is a very popular, delicious, meaty mushroom that grows all over the world. It has many names such as king, cep, porcini, steinpilz, penny bun and many others. It is apparently a complex of closely related species with similar looks, habitat, and flavor wherever it is found. It is highly variable in coloration. More study of this group will be required to sort out the variants more accurately. The king is a favorite and familiar mushroom drawn, painted or sculpted by artists. The king is often very large and stately with a thick club shaped stem, thick cap and an impressive kingly appearance.
A medium-to-large sized cap with a tan, brown or brownish-red top. Pores are whitish in younger specimens, and mature to yellow-olive. Stalk: Thick, often bulbous near the ground and tapering towards the underside of the cap. Stalk surface finely netted, at least near the top. Location: Often grows with firs, spruces and pines. Also oaks and birches in some locations. When: Early fall at lower elevations. Summer in high elevations. Occasional springtime growth. Edibility: One of the best! Nutty and mild fresh. Should not taste bitter or chalky. Can grow to several pounds in weight! Can be stored sliced and dried for a years.
One method for testing the edibility of a boletus species is the taste test. You can break off a tiny piece of the cap and putting your finger on the sponge and push. If it turns colors its a bolete. It is still strongly recommend that you identify all boletus mushrooms as close to the exact species as possible before trying them. This technique is not recommend for testing the edibility of any other group of species.
Once the mushrooms have been properly identified, it’s time to begin preparing them. Boletes rot quickly; any wet and mushy undersides or insect-filled stems should be discarded. Get rid of the sponge on the bottom of the mushroom. The hard or fibrous stem of an older bolete should also be removed. The best boletes are small and firm. The choicest specimens can be served raw, thinly sliced with lemon juice and oil. However, there are a variety of cooking methods to best showcase the meaty flavor of boletes.
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