Main characteristics of the porcini mushroom
Porcino is the name that is attributed to some varieties of edible mushrooms of the genus Boletus. The porcini are characterized by the presence of a voluminous and very fleshy hat with a nearly circular shape. It can reach even thirty centimeters in diameter in the largest specimens and has a color ranging from light chestnut to intense brown. The part that remains below the hat is white in the youngest mushrooms and tends to take on a greenish color over time. The erect stem is solid and rather robust but not woody. It has an enlarged shape towards the base and presents a white shade slightly tinged with brown. It has a compact flesh that does not change color after being cut with a knife.
Variety of porcini mushrooms
Besides the common porcini mushroom boletus edulis there are other varieties among which the black porcino stands out. It is the most valuable variety because it has a decidedly more intense aroma. It has a robust appearance and a strong color. The hat is brown and is easier to find in moist coniferous woods. Instead the summer porcini, common name of the boletus aestivalis is a large mushroom with a honey-colored cap that tends to present noticeable cracks during periods of drought or with aging. It is possible to harvest it in many areas of Italy from the month of May until the first cold of autumn. Finally there is the elegant porcino which has a more slender shape and is found in the alpine areas and in the northern part of the Apennines.
Similar poisonous and toxic mushrooms
It is always advisable to avoid collecting mushrooms of any kind if they do not know each other thoroughly. In fact, even the common porcine has highly toxic doubles and some even, if ingested, can have lethal consequences for humans. Some mushrooms are identical to that of porcini mushrooms but if pressed or cut they immediately change color becoming purple or green. The boletus satanas has a very large and fleshy hat firmly attached to the compact stem. The cuticle coloring is very clear while the pores can be yellow and sometimes reddish. It can be found in deciduous forests at the end of summer. Another boletus to avoid is the calopus one. Unlike the previously mentioned species, it has a less robust stem and a bitter taste.
Porcino: How to clean porcini mushrooms
Porcini mushrooms must be cleaned starting from the stem. Carefully scrape the earth with a small knife with a smooth blade and then wipe it with a damp cotton cloth to remove any remaining residue. Separate the heads from the stems with a slight rotation made with the hands. If the morel is dirty with earth, scrape it off without pressing too hard to remove it effectively. It would always be advisable not to wash the mushrooms because along with the dirt the fragrances are taken away. As for the cut to be made, it must be done taking into consideration the dish you want to make. For example to make them fried it is necessary to cut them into slices while if you want to taste them in a tartar you have to chop them.