It is generally accepted that winter is not the time for the mushroom season. Indeed, very few people can be found in the forest during such a cold period. However, for experienced mushroom pickers, winter is not a reason to bask at home by the stove. It is with the onset of cold weather that it becomes possible to go on a 'hunt' for winter mushrooms. It turns out that harvesting the mushroom harvest at this time of the year makes sense. It is in the winter forest that bright fruit bodies grow abundantly, which will be discussed. For clarity, on this page you can familiarize yourself with the description, photos and videos of winter mushrooms.
Winter mushrooms (flammulina velutipes) are cap mushrooms belonging to the Ryadovkovy family. These fruit bodies are very much appreciated among many mushroom pickers, because they have a pleasant and delicate taste, therefore they are widely used in cooking. They are great for processes such as pickling and salting. Various soups and sauces are also prepared from them. However, some people prefer not to deal with winter mushrooms, since they become slimy during cooking, although this feature does not affect the taste of the dish.
Another name for winter honey is flammulina velvety-footed. It indicates a characteristic feature of the appearance of this fruiting body. As for edibility, it belongs to the 4th category. This means that the mushroom needs mandatory heat treatment.
Below you can see a more detailed description of winter mushrooms and photos that clearly show the characteristic features of their appearance.
- Winter edible mushrooms: a description of what mushrooms look like in the forest (with photo)
- Winter variety of honey agarics: photos and how to distinguish edible mushrooms from false ones
- Season of winter mushrooms: where and when mushrooms grow
- When do winter mushrooms appear and how to find them in the forest
- How quickly winter mushrooms grow and when can they be harvested
Winter edible mushrooms: a description of what mushrooms look like in the forest (with photo)
Latin name: Flammulina velutipes.
Family: Ordinary, also belong to the Negniyuchkovy family.
Synonyms: Agaricus velutipes, Collybia velutipes, Collybidium velutipes, Gymnopus velutipes, Myxocollybia velutipes.
Russian synonyms: velvety-legged flammulina, velvety-legged colibia, winter mushroom. In the West, they are most often found under the Japanese name 'enokitake'.
Hat: rounded-convex, flattening with age. The diameter is from 2 to 8 cm, however, some large specimens can reach 10 or even 12 cm. The color of the cap varies from yellow or honey to orange-brown. In most cases, the edges of the cap have a lighter shade than the central area. Mucous, smooth, with slight drying takes on a glossy appearance. Pay attention to the caps of edible winter mushrooms by looking at the photo.
Leg: cylindrical, tubular, dense, velvety, 3-8 cm high, up to 1 cm thick. The upper part has a lighter shade (yellow), and the lower part is darker (brown or red).
Flesh: thin, stiff at the lower edge of the stem and softer at the cap. White or light yellow, with a mild pleasant smell and taste.
Plates: rare, slightly adherent to the stem, sometimes shortened. The color of the plates in young individuals ranges from cream to yellowish-white, darkens with age.
We offer you to see a few more photos of winter honey agarics in the forest:
As you can see, they have a brighter color than representatives of other types of edible mushrooms. Knowing what winter mushrooms look like in the photo, it will be much easier for you to find them in the forest.
Edible: conditionally edible, belongs to the 4th category.
Winter variety of honey agarics: photos and how to distinguish edible mushrooms from false ones
Application: used in cooking and medicine. They are pickled, salted, fried, caviar, soups and sauces are made from them. In young specimens, only the lower part of the leg is removed; in mature specimens, only the caps are taken. Mushrooms are very popular in Japanese cuisine. In medicine, it is used for the treatment and prevention of benign tumors – fibromas, fibroids, adenomas, mastopathy and other types of oncology. Used for thrombophlebitis and increased blood clotting.
Similarities and differences: the winter species of honey agaric does not have false poisonous counterparts. Nevertheless, their appearance can be confused with summer honey ages and spindle-footed collibia. However, it is almost impossible to find them near the winter honeydew. The fact is that the time of their fruiting is completely at odds with the season of flammulina activity. But be that as it may, it is necessary to know some of the differences between them.
As you can see in the photo, you can distinguish winter mushrooms from false ones by the presence of a ring on the leg: in edible species it is clearly visible, while in false ones it is completely absent.
Collibia spindle-footed is a fruit body of dubious food quality. The cap of the mushroom has a pronounced reddish-brown color. The leg is often twisted, tapers noticeably downward, has a reddish tint. Comparing photos and descriptions of winter mushrooms with false species, you can easily determine where and which fruit bodies.
Distribution: winter honeydew grows in the northern temperate zone, being a parasitic fungus. Prefers stumps, dead wood, live and damaged trunks. Most often, flammulina can be found on deciduous tree species: willow, poplar, aspen, ligature, maple, etc. It grows on conifers much less often, sometimes chooses dead wood.
Season of winter mushrooms: where and when mushrooms grow
Many novice mushroom pickers are interested in when winter mushrooms grow? Judging by the name, we can conclude that the season of winter honey agarics starts with the onset of cold weather. As already noted, this type of fruit bodies grows most often in deciduous forests, but sometimes they can be found in city gardens and parks, near roads and industrial enterprises.
Flammulina grows in large families, like most other species of honey agaric, forming honey-golden 'bouquets'. Due to their bright color, winter mushrooms are often grown as a decorative decoration for personal plots of houses. However, it should be remembered that these fungi destroy the wood, leading it to dry out and death.
Depending on where the winter mushrooms grow, you can say what taste and smell they have. So, growing on deciduous trees, the pulp of the mushroom will have a more delicate taste and aroma. And settling on a pine or spruce, the fruiting body acquires a characteristic smell and a bitter resinous aftertaste.
When do winter mushrooms appear and how to find them in the forest
The period when winter mushrooms appear depends on the climatic characteristics of individual territories. Traditionally, the first harvest appears in late September – early October. The peak of abundant fruiting occurs in November-February, sometimes a large number of mushrooms can be observed in May. Thus, under certain weather conditions, it is possible to collect winter mushrooms almost all year round.
One of the characteristic features of Flammulina is that it tolerates frost well. During the frost period, the mushroom freezes, but does not die. At the first thaw, its growth resumes, and the structure of the fruiting body itself returns its flexibility and original appearance. I must say that you can find this mushroom even under a layer of snow. It can be easily collected both frozen and thawed, because even with severe frosts, it will not lose its taste.
Knowing when winter mushrooms grow, and under what conditions this process takes place, many mushroom pickers do not miss the opportunity to visit the forest during the cold season. They may find that mushroom caps begin to crumble when pressed, but do not be afraid of this. In a warm room, they will thaw and restore their former elasticity.
How can you find winter mushrooms in the forest? Fans of 'quiet hunting', who have many years of experience in this business, note that this is not an easy task. In addition to fallen trees and stumps, it is necessary to look into the hollows. Sometimes a whole 'army' of honey-golden 'soldiers' can be found there. In addition, when picking mushrooms, you should not only look at your feet, but also look up. Often, winter mushrooms grow exactly at a height that can reach up to 3 m. In this case, it is worth taking with you a long stick with a hook, thanks to which it will be easy to remove the mushrooms from the tree.
How quickly winter mushrooms grow and when can they be harvested
Also, many novice mushroom pickers are interested in how quickly winter mushrooms grow? As you know, all mushrooms, without exception, grow very quickly. If the weather is favorable for the growth of the fruit body outside the window, then after 2-3 days you can go to the forest. Under what circumstances does the winter fungus grow? In this case, everything will depend on the weather conditions. In the absence of strong and prolonged frosts, the fruit body can grow in a few days. According to studies, flammulina per day can increase by 1-2 cm. And vice versa, if frosts come, then the growth of such honey agarics practically stops, but only until the first thaw. It is with her arrival that the mushroom continues to grow, delighting with its motley color of the eyes in the 'naked' forest. Therefore, in order to know when you can go to collect winter mushrooms, you need to navigate by the weather, because the growth of fruit bodies depends on it.
The surface of the cap of the winter honeydew is slightly covered with mucus, which does not disappear even after boiling. In addition, it is customary to remove the stem of the fruiting body completely, since it is too hard. There is also information that the pulp of the mushroom may contain a small amount of toxins, so it must always be heat treated. To do this, after cleaning, the winter mushroom is boiled in salted water for at least 20 minutes, and then they begin to prepare dishes.