Looking for mushrooms after the first rains in autumn is the most popular, but also in spring, species typical of this season appear for the enjoyment of mycology fans. At any time of the year, consuming mushrooms responsibly is a health benefit and a gastronomic pleasure
“All edible mushrooms are medicinal. That is why the mushroom must be included in the diet, its consumption must not be avoided ”, says Juan Andrés Oria de Rueda, director of the Chair of Mycology at the University of Valladolid.
Mushrooms have great probiotic power, provide fiber and antioxidant properties against cellular aging that can cause diseases such as cancer and are natural regulators of blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as reducing the amount of sugar in the blood, explains the expert.
And its large percentage of water causes a feeling of satiety that, together with its low caloric intake, makes mushrooms one of the ideal dishes for weight control.
In return, you have to take them in small amounts because they are indigestible and, above all, be careful with those that are toxic because they can be fatal.
The stars of the season
The abundant rains and mild temperatures are giving rise to a fruitful mycological spring, especially in the north and center of the peninsula.
Of the mushrooms that appear in spring, one of the best known, especially as a gastronomic delight, is the popular “perretxiko” (Tricholoma georgii) also called blanquilla, mansarón, fine mushroom or St. George’s mushroom because it appears around the 23rd of April and lasts until the heats of June in the grasslands with thorns of calcareous soils. It has hypoglycemic power, an advantage for diabetics.
Marzuelo (Hygrophorus marzuolus) is also another of the edible mushrooms that begins to sprout in March in pine forests, beech trees and some oak groves with acid soil in which it forms setales.
“The marzuelo recharges the batteries of health in spring, even animals (squirrels and deer) eat it to take advantage of its natural probiotic substances that prevent them from getting sick,” says Juan Andrés Oria de Rueda.
Different species of boletus also abound. The holm oak mushrooms (Boletus lepidus), more yellow than the Boletus edulis but also excellent for the table or the Boletus Pinicola found in the pine forests.
Also proliferating this spring are turmas or desert truffles (Terfezia claveryi) associated with turmeric grasses, herbaceous plants typical of the dry and calcareous soils of the center of the peninsula that appear on the surface when the earth cracks.
Beware of eating some mushrooms raw
In raw in a salad or carpaccio the champignon or the oronja mushroom (Amanita caesarea) can be delicious. But, be careful, with other species such as morels, never take them raw.
Morels (Morchella deliciosa), popularly known as manjarrias, cagurrias and piñuelas, are found in the limestone oak forests of the moors. These mushrooms, especially the so-called pots (Sarcosphaera) “cannot be eaten raw because they have hemolytic substances that are destroyed by cooking, so stews lose toxicity”, warns the mycologist.
Important to keep in mind
Mushrooms should be included in the diet on a regular basis but in small quantities as they are indigestible, especially if eaten at night. But in addition to this precaution and knowing that there are species, such as morels, that should not be taken raw, it must be borne in mind that many of them are poisonous and deadly.
Therefore, the first rule if we go out to pick mushrooms in the field is to make sure that they are edible by consulting experts, such as the mycological societies that meet weekly, since there is no general rule that distinguishes edible from poisonous ones.
“Now many people send a photo by WhatsApp,” says the expert, for someone to tell them if the mushroom is edible, but that is not reliable and leads to poisoning. Nor is it enough to consult on the internet ”.
In case of poisoning, the first symptoms are digestive. And the sooner we approach a hospital, and the better with a sample of the mushroom, the sooner we will stop the poisoning. The first measure will be that the toxins are eliminated through the urine.
There is a serious risk to the life of an intoxicated person if they have not been treated within 36 or 48 hours. The mistake is to stay home and wait for the symptoms to pass, which are usually severe abdominal pain and gastroenteritis.
To avoid taking risks, the easiest thing is to buy the mushrooms in the food stores where we always find cultivated species of mushroom, poplar mushroom and shiitake, a beneficial bet for our weekly diet.