About a year ago I discovered an expired clutch of mushrooms that my mentor speculated as being “honey mushrooms”. I was delighted to learn about a new-to-me mushroom but was disappointed that I could not cook them to experience the taste. Finally, a year later, I just found a beautiful cluster and sought to confirm their I.D. to be sure of their edibility.
As I have mentioned in previous articles about mushrooms I advise that if you pursue this endeavor be sure to contact a local mushroom expert who can positively identify them for your own safety. I am grateful to have knowledgeable forayer friends with whom I share my finds and in turn they share theirs and that has helped me to positively identify edible mushrooms as they appear in each new season.
There are essentially two types of honey mushrooms: one variety (armillaria mellea) with rings on the stem and one without rings (armillaria tabescens). They may be found growing on or near hardwood trees, typically oaks. The ones that I found were in the grass near a dead curly maple tree. You can see the caps in the photo. They may be small and rounded, or flat and fully expanded. One important test to identify a honey mushroom is the spore print. When the cap of a mushroom is placed on a dark surface the spores from the gills are dropped and leave a beautiful pattern. The spore of the honey mushroom is white or light buff.
It is advised to fully cook these “honeys” for about 15 minutes because they can cause gastrointestinal discomfort for some. Another approach is to first par-boil them for 5 minutes before cooking them. Often with new-to-me mushrooms I will eat a very small portion at first and wait a day before consuming more as a precautionary measure because of not knowing how they may effect my system. I recommend this approach as a precautionary procedure when you try a new mushroom.
I’m happy to say that they did not adversely effect me and they were quite delicious… of course butter makes many things taste great! Here is a link for you to learn more about these interesting mushrooms – http://blog.crazyaboutmushrooms.com/ringless-honey-mushroom/ .