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Spring edible mushrooms: characterization of species and cooking tips


The first spring or earliest mushrooms collected by connoisseurs of quiet hunting appear on European territory in March. Edible, as well as inedible and poisonous mushrooms form their fruiting bodies in the spring almost immediately after the snow mass has disappeared in the forest.

Many species grow on thawed patches and forest edges. In fairness, it should be noted that the types of mushrooms that can be harvested in the early spring are very few, and that is why you need to know which spring mushrooms can be used for food and which varieties can cause severe poisoning.

Edible spring mushrooms

The name of such a spring mushroom, as morel, is known to almost all domestic mushroom pickers, and their collection is carried out not only in forest zones, but also at the edges and the first thawings in the clearing. Nevertheless, edible and tasty enough spring mushrooms can be found even in gardens on personal plots, as well as on walks and cattle pastures.

ViewLatinFruiting periodFeatures of the fruiting body
March HygrophorHygrophorus marzuolusFrom the last decade of February to the last days of MarchA very early season does not allow confusing this species with others, including poisonous mushrooms.
Conical morelMorchella conicaFrom the first of April to the end of MayCan be confused with a line of poisonous ordinary, with wavy-twisty, shapeless hats
Real morelMorchella esculentaFrom the first of April to the end of MayThe characteristic appearance does not allow to confuse it with inedible varieties
Morel hatMitrophora semiliberaFrom the first decade of March to the last days of MayFruit bodies do not tolerate low humidity and often dry quickly on the vine
Veal SaucerDisciotis venosaFrom the first decade of March to the last days of MayThe presence of a specific aroma does not allow confusing the view with other types of mushrooms.
Deer mushroomPluteus cervinusBetween early spring and fallFruit bodies of poor quality, with mediocre taste characteristics
Summer honey mushroomsKuehneromyces mutabilisBetween early spring and fallFruit bodies can be confused with dangerous counterparts, which differ in bright yellow, rusty red and gray-greenish coloring of hats. Legs above the ring are smooth, below are scaly
Short-legged melanoleukaMelanoleuca brevipesSpring and summerPossesses a short, dense, gray leg, tuberoid-thickened at the base
Black and white melanoleukaMelanoleuca cognataThe whole spring-summer periodIt is best to assemble hats that can be boiled or fried, and the legs are of a fiber-rubber type, almost inedible
Crowded rowingLyophyllum decastesBetween early spring and fallFruiting in large groups, with fusion of the bases and sides of the legs
Entoloma SepiumEntoloma saepiumFrom mid spring to the first decade of summerFruit bodies most often grow on the territory of Kazakhstan and in the Western Tien Shan, in the zone of growth of symbiont trees
Edible entolomaEntoloma clypeatumFrom mid spring to the first decade of summerOn the territory of the Black Earth region they are used for cooking traditional mushroom dishes, and in the countries of Western Europe it belongs to the best mushrooms
Kalotsibe MayCalocybe gambosaFrom mid spring to the first decade of summerCrowded growth during maturation causes deformation of the hat
Two-ring champignonAgaricus bitorquisFrom the first of May to the autumn periodExcellent edible mushroom, the fruiting bodies of which are grown in large quantities
ConeVerpa conicaFrom the last decade of spring to JuneFruit bodies are a bit like fruit bodies of an edible morel cap, but do not have longitudinal ribbing on the hat

Fancy Spring Mushrooms

Mushrooms quite unusual in appearance are often found in the forest expanses of our country. After the snow melts, you can observe the appearance of charming bright red cups growing on decaying wood or fallen branches. These beautiful mushrooms, reminiscent of the appearance of goblets with curved edges, are called Sarkoscif. Despite the fact that this species is classified as edible, the red young and old fruiting bodies of the sarcoscifes are completely tasteless and “rubbery,” therefore they are not used for food purposes.

What mushrooms cannot be harvested in spring

There are a number of varieties of spring mushrooms, the collection of which is impractical or even dangerous. There are not too many such species, however, you need to know them so as not to get poisoned.

ViewLatinFruiting periodFeatures of the fruiting body
Spring lineGyromitra esculentaFrom the first decade of March to MayThe nature of the toxins contained in the fruit bodies of the lines of this species is not yet fully understood.
Etoloma NifoidsEntoloma niphoidesFrom early spring to autumn coolingThe species is very poisonous and is often confused with edible May mushroom.
Tinder funnel sulfur yellowLaetiporus sulphureusFrom early spring to autumn coolingParasitic fruiting bodies are similar to a teardrop-shaped yellowish fleshy mass of intense yellow or orange color
Tinder fungusPolyporus squamosusFrom the first decade of April to mid-JuneDue to the specific appearance, it is impossible to confuse with other types of mushrooms
Fiberwoman of PatuillardInocybe erubescensThroughout spring and summerDeadly poisonous mushroom with a pleasant mushroom aroma and unpleasant taste.
White fly agaricAmanita vernaFrom early spring to autumn coolingThe fruit bodies contain several toxins, and the lethal dose for an adult is approximately 30 g

What to cook from spring mushrooms

Spring marsupial mushroom is amazingly tasty, and dishes from it often outperform porcini mushrooms in terms of taste. Almost any spring mushroom is perfect for making soups, as well as hot dishes and cold snacks. However, such mushrooms are not always suitable for canning, as they do not have the proper taste and have a not too dense structure.

Nevertheless, there are a number of edible species, the use of which can cause great disappointment and it is not recommended to cook dishes from them:

  • bubbly pepper or Peziza vesiculosa and tuberous sclerotinia or Dumontiona tuberosa - edible species with not too tasty and nutritious pulp;
  • early agrocybe or Agrocybe praecox - an edible species whose old fruiting bodies acquire a very pronounced bitter taste;
  • Paxina acetabulum or paxina acetabulum, which grows in rare forest areas and along paths, has a rubbery and unpleasant taste.

How to cook a casserole from the lines (video)

Among other things, it should be noted that it is impossible to eat mushroom dishes from the fruit bodies of an ink dung (coprinus atramentarius) and flickering dung (coprinus micaceus) during feasts with alcohol, as this can cause severe poisoning. Spring mushrooms for the most part are very tasty and healthy, but they must be collected very carefully, in compliance with all the rules and norms of quiet hunting.