Abundant, Neglected but Tasty Mushrooms that Do Not Absorb Heavy Metals


Are you on a mushroom picking trip, walking through the woods but finding only Russula mushrooms? Well, if you are not fond of them you most likely just pass them by. It is a shame because these are great, but unfortunately, quite underrated mushrooms. Did you know that thte first mycological books were devoted just to russula mushrooms? Professor Melzer, one of the most famous experts in mycology, invented the so-called Melzer’s solution, which is still used in mycology today. But enough of history and back to the present. So, why do experienced mushroom pickers go for these kinds of mushrooms? Which are edible? Are there any poisonous russula mushrooms?

Several Reasons to start Collecting Russula Mushrooms

People who collect only the “real” mushrooms do not like russulas. But more experienced mushroom pickers are not as strict because they know there are several good reasons to collect them too. They certainly do not collect them only because they are more abundant. Yes, they are usually left alone and do not “disappear” from the woods so quickly . The great health advantage is the fact that, unlike other mushrooms, they do not accumulate heavy metals in their bodies and they contain iron or zinc for example. These are the elements that the human body needs badly. There are not highly poisonous species amount russulas, so it is very difficult to mistake and get sick. As far the appearance goes, russula mushrooms are different from other mushrooms. They have a different smell, are more fragile but they go very well with scrambled eggs. For example, we bet you never heard of russela mushroom cracklings!

mushroomPhoto: Pixabay 

There are Several Species of Russela Mushroooms

Russela mushrooms grow virtually from June to September and you will always find them near trees as they live in symbiosis with them – both under coniferous and deciduous trees. We distinguish several edible russula mushrooms. The excellent ones are, for example, Russula cyanoxantha, Russula vesca, Russula mustelina, Russula aeruginea, Russula virescens and many others. These mushrooms are really colourful and their gills may be white, yellowish or ochre.


Photo: Pixabay 

Try them

Russela mushrooms smell great so we encourage you to try them. Edible types have usually very mild aroma. Russula sardonia grows under pine trees and has a red to purplish pileus and a burning and bitter taste, but if you find Russula foetens, which is disgusting and stinky, you will certainly not pick it up or intend to use it for cooking. Russula pseudointegra and Russula rhodopus also taste bitter. Perhaps the only poisonous one is Russula emetica. It has a beautiful deep red pileus and white stipe. But it will only give you stomach pain and vomiting. Well it is definitely not pleasant, but not deadly.

Photo: Pixabay

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.

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