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Known among mycologists (scientists studying mushrooms) the folio and more common under the name flake belongs to the Strofariev family. This mushroom got its name due to unusual scaly formations covering the surface of the cap and legs. Despite this peculiar appearance, some varieties are quite edible.
Botanical description of flakes
Scale mushrooms have a classic shape - a round hat of medium and large (up to 15-20 cm in diameter) sizes on a fairly high stalk (up to 15 cm). The color is mostly bright, warm tones - from yellow to red and brown.
The surface can be either wet or dry to the touchMoreover, it is almost always covered with numerous scales. Different types of flakes are both saprotrophic organisms (i.e., feeding exclusively on dead wood) and parasites that live on living plants. In some cases, they even destroy wooden houses.
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In some forests, poor in vegetation, flakes become the only food for squirrels, which are forced to stock up the fruiting bodies of the fungus for the winter instead of pine nuts.
Features of ordinary flake
Growth Places and Edible Flake Collection Season
The season for collecting edible varieties begins no earlier than the second half of July. Mostly mushroom pickers enter the forest for flakes in August and September. Fruit bodies settle only in the lower tier - either at the base of the trunks, where the roots flow into them, or on stumps or roots.
Distributed almost throughout the temperate climatic zone of Russia - both in deciduous and mixed and less often - coniferous forests: from the European part to Siberia and the Far East. Also found in Europe and North America. Mostly they grow near beech, spruce and apple trees. Some species got their name due to the characteristics of growth - for example, poplar flake (poplar).
Types of Scale Mushroom
In total, more than 140 species are known, while only 30 are found in Russia. The most common ones are described below.
This is the most common species, which is most often found both in our country and abroad. Its pulp is quite tough, and the taste is noticeably bitter (especially in mushrooms found under fir trees), so immediately before cooking, soak for a long time.
In color - different shades: from orange to red and brown. In size - not very large: the diameter of the cap is within 10 cm, the height of the legs is up to 12 cm. It does not have a special smell.
It is interesting that often mushroom pickers bring home a common flake, although they believe that autumn mushrooms were obtained. It should be borne in mind that the mushroom has no scales and is not tough.
Sometimes representatives of this species are called royal mushrooms or willows, which emphasizes their particular habitat. These are edible mushrooms of bright yellow, golden color. Moreover, the caps reach up to 20 cm in diameter.
The scales that go along the outside of the hat have red hues, so from afar it may seem as if the mushroom has characteristic holes. Most often they settle on deciduous trees - along with willows on alder, less often - on birch and conifers. Edible mushrooms, but need preliminary processing (for more details, see the corresponding section).
In Japanese, this variety is called "hint", which literally translates as "slippery mushrooms." They are very reminiscent of honey mushrooms. - grow large nests, have a similar orange-brown color and even in shape are quite similar.
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In stores, many pickled mushrooms are actually edible flakes. And in China and Japan, these mushrooms are grown on an industrial scale - they are widely used in local cuisine and sent for export.
Unlike previously reviewed this species belongs to inedible mushrooms. Prefers lowlands, ravines, places near the shores of lakes, rivers. In fact, it is also possible to eat it, since no toxic substances are included in these representatives. However, the flesh is too bitter, so it needs to be soaked in water and boiled in several waters.
These representatives have really interesting shades of fruit body color - light orange, ruddy color, which distinguishes them against the background of soil and greenery for several tens of meters. However, they are small in size (no more than 6-7 cm in the diameter of the cap).
The mushroom is also considered inedible, although it is not very bitter, and after soaking it is quite possible to eat. Interestingly, at the break, the flesh smells of earthy aroma.
This variety forms fruiting bodies of medium size (4-12 cm in diameter of the cap). Mostly pale yellow and light brown shades with brown scales extending over the entire surface. It usually grows in large groups, and is found on stumps. In the forests it can be found right up to the first frosts in mid-autumn.
Interesting, that among mushroom pickers it is widely believed that the flake is fleecy inedible, but this is not entirely true. In fact, it tastes very much like autumn mushrooms, so lovers often pick it on a par with the rest of the mushrooms, soak it and cook it according to traditional recipes.
How to recognize flake
Flavoring qualities of flakes
Despite the fact that mushroom pickers believe that the scales are inedible and even poisonous, this is not entirely correct. These mushrooms do not contain toxic substances, therefore, they cannot cause harm to health. Many of them really have some bitterness, but you can get rid of it with the usual methods - soaking in cold water and boiling.
In addition, some species (for example, edible flakes) are not bitter at all, therefore, dishes based on it can be prepared without special preliminary processing. Although the flake does not have a strong mushroom aroma, nevertheless, different types of this fungus are quite common in the forest zone, and they can be eaten if you learn to distinguish different types well and know the technologies for preparing for frying, boiling or salting.
Useful properties of flakes
Along with the fact that flake, like most other mushrooms, is low in calories (22 kcal per 100 g live weight), its pulp has a rather rich chemical composition:
- in the golden flake there is a lot of calcium and phosphorus - almost as much as in river fish;
- these mushrooms contain a lot of hemoglobin;
- they also have a whole group of vitamins - B1, B2, C, E, PP;
- dietary fiber that improves bowel function;
- monosaccharides and fatty acids;
- Minerals and microelements contained in large quantities contribute to the improvement of metabolic processes, in particular, they optimize the thyroid gland.
Features of cooking flakes
Almost all flakes should be soaked in cold water for 1-2 days, making a shift twice a day. And royal mushrooms (golden scales) should be boiled for 15-20 minutes with a slight boil.
Mostly these mushrooms are used in recipes, which in taste are in no way inferior to classical mushrooms. Here is an example of a recipe developed by French chefs - mushroom soup with cream cheese. For 12 royal mushrooms (you can frozen) you will need:
- 4 potatoes;
- 1 onion;
- 1 carrot;
- 3 processed cheese;
- herbs, spices to taste;
- water 1.5 l.
How to cook flake mushrooms
The recipe is simple, but the taste of the soup is very saturated - The combination of tender cheese and pronounced mushroom aroma gives a very good combination:
- Potatoes are cut into small cubes, and carrots are rubbed on a coarse grater. Chop the onion finely enough.
- Potatoes are sent to the pot and cooked over medium heat. Finely chopped mushrooms are immediately placed there.
- Carrots with onions are fried until cooked.
- When the potatoes become fully cooked, they add onions with carrots to it, trying not to pour the excess oil. At the same stage, salt to taste.
- Now you need to bring everything back to a boil and drain all the contents through a sieve, wiping all the large fragments in the puree.
- Finely mashed cream cheese is added to the finished soup.
- Add finely chopped greens. It will be appropriate to put croutons, which are best made from dried baguette (can be fried with garlic) - then the dish will turn out in the best French traditions.
Thus, experienced and novice mushroom pickers should include flakes in their menu. These are not only tasty, but also healthy mushrooms that will fall on the summer and winter table. Enjoy your meal!