Edible Mushrooms Actually Worth Eating - Lactarius Deliciosus

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pine mushrooms
Mushrooming. Tasty food for free if you know what you are looking for. I'm putting out the information I have and personally use. Consider this the first in an occasional series on edible mushrooms. And no, I take no responsibility if you make a mistake.

Please note that the information (especially around similar mushrooms) is optimised for Australia, where I live. It may not be the same in your country as the variety of species does change with geography.

 Lactarius deliciosus
Also known as the Pine mushroom or the Saffron Milkcap.

When - Autumn and winter

Where - Found in pine forest or broadleaf European forest, not in eucalypt forest. If there's no conifer or European tree nearby, it's not a pine mushroom.

How to Identify -
  • Check that the when and the where are right for this mushroom
  • A generally orange colour with a paler orange ring pattern on the cap
  • The cap is convex when young, concave or funnel shaped when old  
  • It has gills which are orange
  • The gills are decurrent ie the gill run down the stipe (stem)
  • The stipe has a giraffe pattern on it 
  • The stipe is reticulated ie it has a net pattern as a texture
  • Break the stipe - it is brittle, has a chalky texture and is hollow. In very young pine mushrooms the hollowed centre will not yet have developed
  • Break the cap -  it is also brittle, it snaps instead of tearing
  • Squeeze the broken cap - a bright orange latex (milk) will ooze out (if the weather has been quite dry there may not be any latex)
  • Leave the mushroom a few minutes - both the orange latex and bruised area where you squeezed will oxidise green, a bit like oxidised copper green. 
Click on an image for a larger version:
Different sizes and ages. Note the orange ring pattern on the cap.
Note the convex young caps and the concave older caps. Also the giraffe pattern on the stipe.
Note the orange gills and hollow stipe.

Note the giraffe pattern on the stipe and the decurrent gills.
The cap is brittle and oozes an orange milk.
Close up of the orange milk.
Bruised areas oxidise green-black. Note the bruises on the gills.
Similar mushrooms - There are other orange mushrooms and the poisonous amanita muscaria which grows in the same habitat can appear orange when old. Always test for the full list of characteristics especially the green oxidising flesh, orange milk and hollow stem.

Notes - This is one of the easiest mushrooms to find and identify. The next day after eating, it turns your pee a disturbingly orange-red. Don't panic! That's normal.

Taste - Ok, probably best used in stews or dishes requiring a long cooking time. Not so tasty fried or lightly cooked. A bit tough.

Are you familiar with this mushroom? Do you have cooking ideas or recipes for it to share? Let us know in the comments.

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3 thoughts

  1. Wow, thank you for the info and the photos, I've been wondering what those particular mushrooms look like, and now I know!

  2. No problemo. They're good ones to start on as they are so abundant and easy to ID.

  3. funny the ones we get here in tassie i have eaten dont turn the pee red. perhaps i haven't eaten a pile at one sitting. my blog has some local mushroom info.


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