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The meadow puffball (Lycoperdon pratense) is a conditionally edible mushroom belonging to the Champignon family. The people called him a bee sponge and a pearl raincoat. The mushroom has an atypical appearance. He is missing a hat and a leg. The raincoat has a spherical closed structure. Another name is field vascellum.
Description of the meadow raincoat
Meadow puffball is considered a conditionally edible mushroom. But it is customary to eat only young fruits. Their surface is covered with a smooth milky peridium. As the mushroom grows, it darkens, and the pulp becomes less elastic and is filled with spore powder. Very old meadow raincoats can be completely black on the inside. In diameter, the size of the fungus can vary from 2 to 5 cm. In height, it grows above 3.5 cm. Meadow raincoats are found mainly in park areas. The harvest peaks between June and October. Due to its unpretentiousness to the surrounding conditions, a bee sponge is often grown purposefully in garden plots.
In appearance, the meadow raincoat resembles a champignon. The difference lies in its voluminous cap. Over time, the color of the mushroom can change to yellowish. Spikes form on the surface of the apex. But heavy rains contribute to their disappearance.
Doubles and their differences
The meadow slicker has counterparts that are completely unsuitable for human consumption. These include the common and spotted varieties of the fungus. They are extremely rare. To distinguish an edible mushroom from a false one, just look at its structure. The meadow raincoat has a partition that separates the leg from the cap.
The common pseudo-raincoat is considered the most common. It is often found in sparse grasses and areas of moss accumulation. The mushroom has a lemon or orange color. The fruiting body reaches a length of 6 cm. The leg is absent, and the cap has the shape of an egg. There are dark scales on the surface of an ordinary pseudo-raincoat. Over time, the top of the cap will crack. In the place of cracks, the fruit body has a red tint. A distinctive feature of this type of raincoat is a repulsive smell reminiscent of raw potatoes. An allergic reaction and digestive upset may occur when eating the pseudo-raincoat. The most common side effects include conjunctivitis and rhinitis.
Spotted pseudo-raincoat got its name due to its characteristic color. It is also called leopard scleroderma. The diameter of the mushroom cap does not exceed 5 cm. It has a pear-like shape, slightly tilted to one side. The smell of this type of mushroom is sweetish, but weakly pronounced. The color of the flesh is white, but may turn purple over time. You can meet a spotted pseudo-raincoat in almost any forest. It needs a lot of light and moist soil to grow. If you accidentally use a pseudo-raincoat, a clinical picture of poisoning will arise. It manifests itself in severe nausea and vomiting.
Where and how it grows
A meadow slicker can be found in Central Asia, Ireland, Great Britain and Russia. It grows mainly in deciduous and coniferous forests with a temperate climate. The most favorable conditions for its growth on the territory of the Russian Federation are presented in Siberia and the Far East. In search of meadow raincoats, mushroom pickers go to wastelands, wet meadows and forest areas. On the territory of Russia, there are about seven species. Some of them are inedible.
Important! It is not recommended to collect the meadow raincoat immediately after rain. It quickly absorbs moisture, which changes its structure and makes it unsuitable for further cooking.
Whether the meadow raincoat is edible or not
In terms of its taste, the meadow raincoat belongs to the fourth category. Despite this, it is not forbidden to eat it. Gourmets often compare this species with boletus. Before eating, make sure that the crop has not been harvested near industrial sites and highways. The fact is that mushrooms have the ability to absorb toxic substances. In this case, eating the product can be extremely dangerous.
How to cook meadow raincoats
Experts recommend eating only young specimens. Each mushroom should be carefully inspected before cooking. The pulp must be completely white. Any deformations and deviations in color indicate that the product is dangerous to eat. The preparation of a meadow raincoat can be done in any way. Most often it is stewed, boiled, fried and baked.
Cleaning and preparing mushrooms
Before cooking, it is necessary to carefully process the product. A sharp knife is used for cleaning. With its help, they gently pry off the skin of a bee sponge and remove it. You should also cut off the attachment point of the meadow raincoat with the root part. Washing the mushrooms is optional. You just need to clear them of forest debris. It is categorically contraindicated to use brushes for this purpose. They will spoil the structure of the fruit. No need to soak. Cut them into small slices before placing in a saucepan or skillet.
How to fry
Fried meadow raincoats are very popular in cooking. Most often they are cooked in batter. Even when exposed to high temperatures, the mushroom retains its size and structure. A great addition to a breaded dish will be a vegetable salad.
- 2 chicken eggs;
- 500 g of mushrooms;
- 1 onion;
- 2 tbsp. l. mayonnaise;
- 100 ml of sunflower oil;
- 3 tbsp. flour;
- salt, pepper - to taste.
- This recipe will require large fruits. They are thoroughly cleaned and cut into equal slices. Sprinkle a little salt on top.
- Beat eggs in a separate container. Mayonnaise and spices are added to the resulting mass. Then you need to add flour, stirring the mixture thoroughly.
- Mushroom wedges are dipped in batter and laid out on a hot frying pan.
- Each slice is fried on both sides until golden brown.
How to pickle
Due to the fact that there is little moisture in a meadow raincoat during cooking, the product practically does not change in size. For the winter, these forest fruits are often pickled. For these purposes, they use their favorite seasonings and various herbs.
- 600 g of meadow raincoat;
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar;
- 4 allspice peas;
- 6 peas of black pepper;
- 1 tbsp. dill seeds;
- 4 tbsp. 9% vinegar;
- 3 cloves of garlic;
- 2 tbsp. salt;
- 2 carnation buds.
- The main product is boiled in slightly salted water, periodically removing the foam. The total cooking time is 20 minutes.
- After readiness, the mushrooms are taken out and placed in a separate container. All seasonings are thrown into the mushroom broth, after which the pan is again put on fire. After 10 minutes of boiling, pour in vinegar and remove the pan from the heat.
- Mushrooms are laid out in sterilized jars. Put garlic on top. The contents are poured to the brim with marinade.
- Banks are rolled up with sterile lids and put away in a secluded place.
How to preserve meadow raincoats for the winter
Harvesting a meadow raincoat for the winter allows you to get a universal dish for any occasion. It is advisable to roll the mushrooms into small jars so that it is convenient to get them one at a time, if necessary. The containers are pre-sterilized together with the lids. Almost any recipe can be used to preserve the product.
How to freeze
Freezing a meadow raincoat allows you to extend the preservation of useful properties and a pleasant taste of the product for up to one year. But for this, a number of nuances should be taken into account. Before freezing, the product is cleaned and cut into small wedges. In this form, it is laid out on a cutting board and put into the freezer for a couple of hours. Frozen fruit bodies are put in a bag and put into the freezer. Before freezing, the mushrooms can be boiled or lightly fried.
How to dry
Dried mushrooms are great for making soups. They become more aromatic and take up very little space. In this form, the product is usable for 1-2 years. The drying process is carried out in several stages:
- Mushrooms are cleaned of debris without rinsing them with water.
- Meadow raincoats are cut into equal-sized slices and laid out in one layer on a baking sheet.
- The baking sheet is placed in the oven for an hour at a temperature of 45 ° C.
- The second stage of drying is carried out with the oven door open at a temperature of 60 ° C for four hours.
How to salt
Experts do not recommend salting meadow raincoats. As a result of the dry method of salting, they lose their shape and lose the crunch characteristic of salted mushrooms. It is also believed that when fried and stewed, meadow raincoats are tastier.
The healing properties of meadow raincoats
Meadow raincoat is widespread not only in cooking, but also in folk medicine. Its pulp contains a number of substances that have a positive effect on health. Most often, the product is used to rid the body of toxins and toxins. It is believed that a raincoat copes well with diseases of the respiratory system. Its useful properties include:
- normalization of blood composition indicators;
- acceleration of regenerative functions;
- strengthening the immune system;
- elimination of radionuclides from the body;
- improving the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract;
- cleansing liver cells.
Advice! Fresh mushroom pulp can be applied to trophic ulcers and non-healing wounds. This will help speed up the healing process of the skin surface and stop bleeding.
In case of respiratory diseases, a broth prepared on the basis of a raincoat is used. Its benefits are comparable to those of chicken broth.
Mushrooms are often used in the fight against diseases of the genitourinary system. The drink, brewed on the basis of bee sponge powder, copes well with postpartum bleeding. Sometimes it is also used to treat urolithiasis.
The benefits of tincture on meadow raincoats
For medicinal purposes, a meadow raincoat is used in a wide variety of forms. Mushroom tincture is especially popular. It is taken before meals three times a day. A single dosage is 40 drops. The benefits of tincture from a meadow raincoat are as follows:
- elimination of disorders in the thyroid gland;
- restoration of liver cells in hepatitis;
- getting rid of dysbiosis;
- prevention of leukemia.
Tincture on meadow raincoats is often used for the prevention and treatment of multiple sclerosis. In this case, you need to take the medicine four times a week. For diseases of the stomach, liver and kidneys, the tincture is taken 1 hour before going to bed. The total duration of treatment is 40 days.
For inflammatory processes on the skin surface, the tincture is used in conjunction with tea tree oil. The resulting mixture is rubbed onto the skin, instead of lotion, twice a day.
How to grow meadow raincoats in the country
Due to the unpretentiousness of a meadow raincoat, growing it at home is quite possible. To start production, you need to plant the wascellum spores in moist soil. On the site where a meadow raincoat is grown, the most favorable conditions should be created. They are about providing shade from trees and the presence of grass nearby. The first harvest can be used in a year. In order for meadow raincoats to grow on a permanent basis, it is required to periodically sow spores in a specially designated area.
Meadow raincoat is a tasty and healthy product that requires special preparation. To avoid food poisoning, you need to be responsible when choosing mushrooms. In this case, it will be possible to fully reveal their unique taste.