Common Names: king bolete, cèpe (French), steinpilz, piglets, penny bun, rodellon, borowitz, boletus edulis (Latin)
Umami, Nutty, Slightly Sweet
Fall and Spring
Throughout the world, popular in North America, Europe, Asia
Thick white stalk with bun-like reddish brown cap
Devil’s Bolete and Boletus huronensi
Porcini Mushroom Health Benefits
These little piglets are highly regarded in culinary circles for their rich and meaty texture. King boletes offer several potential health benefits when consumed as supplements, mushroom extracts, or fresh:
Nutrient-Rich: Porcini mushrooms are a good source of essential nutrients, including B vitamins (such as riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid), minerals (such as potassium, phosphorus, and copper), and dietary fiber. They are also a source of protein and antioxidants.
Immune System Support: They contain beta-glucans, which are polysaccharides known to stimulate the immune system. They can help enhance the activity of immune cells, improving the body's ability to fend off infections and diseases.
Antioxidant Properties: These mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, including selenium and ergosterol, which help protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Reducing oxidative stress can lower the risk of chronic diseases and support overall health.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Some research suggests that porcini mushrooms may have anti-inflammatory properties due to their bioactive compounds. Reducing inflammation in the body is associated with a lower risk of chronic conditions, such as heart disease and arthritis.
Heart Health: They are low in fat and contain compounds that may help lower cholesterol levels. Consuming them as part of a heart-healthy diet can contribute to cardiovascular health.
Improved Digestion: The dietary fiber in porcini mushrooms supports digestive health by promoting regular bowel movements and aiding in nutrient absorption.
Brain Health: Some studies suggest that the antioxidants and other bioactive compounds in porcini mushrooms may have neuroprotective effects and support cognitive function.
Bone Health: They contain minerals like phosphorus and copper, which are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones.
Anti-Aging Properties: While not a magical anti-aging solution, the nutrient density and antioxidant content of porcini mushrooms can contribute to overall well-being and may help mitigate some age-related health issues.
When consuming fresh porcini mushrooms, it's important to ensure they are cooked thoroughly, as raw mushrooms may be challenging to digest (they are safe to eat raw but start with a small amount to see how it goes). You can incorporate them into various Italian dishes, including soups, stews, risotto, and pasta sauces. Additionally, choose high-quality products from reputable sources when using porcini mushroom supplements or extracts. As with any dietary changes or supplements, it's wise to consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have specific health concerns or conditions.
How To Prepare Edible Mushrooms
Keep your fresh porcini mushrooms in the fridge, inside the wax paper bag, or wrapped in a paper towel. They'll keep fresh for about 3 days. Fresh boletus have a shorter shelf life so it will be rare if you ever see them in a grocery store but they can be found at farmer’s markets when in season. They should be eaten as soon as possible.
If you don't plan on eating them within the 3-day window, we recommend:
Cooking then storing in the freezer.
Drying in a dehydrator.
Drying in the oven at its lowest setting for 2 hours. Flip them halfway through.
Pro Tip #1 → Dried porcini mushrooms can be tossed in a simmering soup or sauce to add extra flavor! Cooking porcini mushrooms is amazing on its own as a sauté with olive oil and salt.
Pro Tip #2 → Store these mushrooms towards the top of the fridge. Avoid the veggie drawer, it's often too cold for them!
Mushroom Hunting for Porcini Mushrooms
Hunting for wild mushrooms can be a rewarding experience for mushroom enthusiasts and foragers. They can be found in various regions so here's a basic guide on how to hunt for these prized edible mushrooms:
Learn to Identify: They have a distinctive appearance. Typically have a large, round to convex cap with a brown to reddish-brown color. The stalk is often covered with a fine net-like pattern (reticulation). The stalk is also stout, often thicker at the base, and white to brownish-white. The underside of the cap does not have gills but instead has a porous, sponge-like structure with tiny pores that may age to yellow or greenish-yellow.
Choose the Right Season and Location: Typically found in late summer through fall and again in spring, depending on your region's climate. Look for forested areas, particularly under deciduous trees (such as oaks, beeches, and chestnuts) and conifers (such as pines and spruces). They have a symbiotic relationship with these tree species.
Habitat and Weather Conditions: They prefer well-drained soil and are often found near the base of trees. Ideal weather conditions for porcini hunting include a combination of recent rainfall followed by warm, sunny days. These conditions encourage mushroom growth.
Be Observant: When searching, scan the forest floor near the base of trees. Look for the characteristic cap shape and color.
Inspect and Identify: Before harvesting, inspect each mushroom carefully to ensure it matches the characteristics of porcini mushrooms. Be certain of your identification, as there are similar-looking mushrooms that may be toxic.
Harvest Responsibly: Once you find them, carefully cut or twist them at the base to avoid damaging the mycelium (the underground part of the fungus) or the surrounding environment. Leave some mushrooms behind to allow for future growth and to maintain the health of the ecosystem.
Leave No Trace: Practice responsible foraging by leaving the environment as you found it. Avoid disturbing the forest floor, and be mindful of the surrounding flora and fauna.
Consult Field Guides and Experts: If you're new to mushroom foraging or have any doubts about identification, consult field guides, join local mushroom foraging groups, or seek guidance from experienced mycologists. Always prioritize safety and responsible foraging practices.
Keep in mind that while porcini mushrooms are generally considered safe to eat and highly sought after for their culinary value, it's essential to be confident in your identification skills and to follow local regulations regarding foraging in public or protected areas. If you plan to consume any type of mushrooms, consult with an expert or experienced forager to ensure their safety and suitability for consumption.
Porcini Mushroom Recipes We Love
Porcini (Boletus edulis) are known for their potent flavor and stately appearance. The meaty yet tender texture of fresh Porcini places them well into the category of choice edibles if not right at the top of that list. Their flavor is rich, sweet, buttery, and mildly nutty flavor with a punch of umami. In our humble opinion, this mushroom is right up there with truffles from Italy.
Our porcini are wild foraged on the West Coast (by us in Santa Cruz County, California). If you’re feeling lazy but still want to add a mushroom supplement to your life, check out our Organic Porcini Pumpkin Pie that’s packed with the same health-beneficial powers of dried porcini mushrooms tucked into a delicious dessert.