|Recent rains may stimulate highly coveted mushroom
The Sportsman’s Report
The rains last weekend may have been enough to stimulate the sought-after King Bolete. Known as Cep in France, Porcini (little pig) in Italy, Stein Pilez (rock mushroom) in Germany and Penny Bun in England.
This year the King is renamed Boletus edulis variation grandedulis for the King Bolete we find in our area. To the home cook, they are in markets in dehydrated form and sold as Porcini near $100 per pound dried. It takes a lot of Kings to make a pound of dried mushroom.
Typically, they come in the fall after the first significant rains, about 10 days to three weeks. If the rains are followed by massive storms or a long, hot dry spell, they may take longer to fruit.
In our part of California, the B. Edulis is associated primarily with Bishop pine and Monterey pine.
They also fruit sporadically during the spring and summer months at the edge of trees in ‘fog’ drip.
Go to: Mycoweb.com and search to Boletis Edulis in ‘species index,’ then go to the photos at the bottom of the page. Scrolling through the photos you will get a very good idea of what you are looking for.
A Wikipedia search will give you a good description of what a Bishop pine looks like. Drive north to Salt Point Park on Highway 1 about one hour north of Jenner.
A big sign will note the beginning of the park; park in a safe place and look up.
The Bishop pine are knotty, irregular shaped trees with sparse foliage. At the base are often Huckleberry bushes, also in Wikipedia. You are now in Bolete heaven.
When you find them, use a straight blade knife to dig down in the duff to capture all of the mushroom. Use the knife to whittle the dirt off the base and put it in your basket. Recipes, dehydrating instructions and photos are available on many web sites and in many books. If you see a big old Swede lumbering around in the bush, say hi.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.