A Search Question

Somebody landed on this blog after searching the question, “are blue-staining boletes edible”? I thought I should weigh in on this before the searcher goes collecting.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, boletes are those mushrooms that have pores rather than gills or teeth on the underside of the cap. Some boletes stain blue when they are bruised or cut. By that I mean they turn a deep shade of blue or sometimes greeny-blue where the injury occurred. If you slice one on the underside of the cap, for instance, the incision will turn blue, or with some, when you rub the flat of a knife against the cap, it turns blue.

The short answer to the searcher’s question is that some blue-staining boletes are edible but others are poisonous. Only eat a blue-staining bolete if you can identify what you’re eating and you’re sure you’re not going to poison yourself. It’s possible to pick boletes for the table without being able to identify the specific mushroom, by following a set of rules. (this is for educational purposes only – I’m not recommending you go and eat any wild mushroom) If you follow these rules, you won’t be eating any of the blue-stainers, as the rules eliminate all of them because some of them are poisonous.

Here are the rules:
1. Eat only fresh young specimens
2. Avoid boletes with red or orange pore surfaces
3. Avoid boletes that stain or bruise blue or green
4. Avoid orange-capped Leccinum species (if you are asking what the hell is a Leccinum, avoid any organge-capped boletes).

I think there is another rule that is not on the page I quoted. That is, If you’ve followed the first four rules and you think you have an edible bolete, cut off a wee piece and taste it. If you want to immediately spit if out because it tastes very bitter, then don’t eat it.

Ok, one more rule….if you’ve picked it in the wild, cook it before you eat it. It is dangerous to do otherwise.

All this assumes you can tell what you are looking at is a bolete. This also assumes you aren’t about to eat mushooms that come up in a toxic waste heap or other nasty environment.

My disclaimer: I am not recommending you eat any wild mushroom. I am not recommending you eat any boletes. If you must eat wild mushrooms, be very careful or you just might end up very sick or dead. Remember when you’re experiencing severe gastro-intestinal upset, I never told you to eat that mushroom. Just because I might be crazy enough to eat wild mushrooms, doesn’t mean you have to be too. Better safe than sorry. Finally, as the old saying goes, there are old mushroom hunters and there are bold mushroom hunters but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.