Monday, September 30, 2013

Slippery Jack

 We're still living.

 I don't say that after most meals. But today was different.

 A couple of days ago we saw this mushroom coming up near the white pines at the Farmersville-Jackson Twp. Park. I found them to be "Slippery Jack" mushrooms by thumbing through my Audubon guide. But I posed the question to other friends just to see if they agreed. Those in the know agreed.

Suillus luteus or Slippery Jack

 These mushrooms, sprouted eight days after a heavy rain, dotted the landscape to the west of the pond. I see them every year, mostly in the fall but pay them little attention. I doubted they were edible.
 They have a tanned leather cap of a beautiful yellow-brown and are sturdy, sizeable things

 On the west side of the fence that separates the walking track from a ball field, the mushrooms were coming up in copious clumps. If they were edible, there were enough for a feast.

 Mom thought about it for two days. Meanwhile I checked out the Internet to make sure we'd identified the mushrooms correctly. While I could not be 100% sure, I felt comfortable enough to say I'd taste them - but no more.

 Upside down on the kitchen counter, the huge caps (4-5") show a spongy underside, not the traditional "gills" of many mushrooms. They grow quickly and large.
 My Audubon calls their edibility "Good, with caution" and adds "Although this is a favorite edible, it may cause transient diarrhea if the slime is not removed."
 Just what I was hoping for.

Mom removed the stems and then ...

... began paring off the brown tops (the part that gives the mushroom its slimy feel when damp). It's almost like trying to trim a sponge. We also removed the layer which contained the spongy tubes on the bottom of the cap and tried to peel away anything brown. She was left with the white interior.

 She sauteed this, adding butter and garlic. She served the pieces on a dish of rice.
 I ate very little. I'm convinced that we've identified this mushroom correctly but I'm not taking any chances, not this first time. The taste? Rather bland and flavorless. I understand Slippery Jack's are best used in other dishes (such as soups) and do not really stand up well to the frying pan.

 Now, hours later, Mom (who by far ate the most) still feels well. I do, too.

Disclaimer:  Mushrooms can be extremely dangerous, certainly fatal, so proper identification is essential. 
I do not recommend anyone eat mushrooms that they are not intimately familiar with.

Added October 2, 2013:
 I walked by a new clump of Slippery Jack today and found one which has been pushed sideways by another sprouting right beside it (I made sure it had not simply been broken off by a child; it's attached firmly to the ground). By angling sideways, the tubes beneath the cap are quite visible and gives a better example of the texture than my earlier picture.


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