No doubt mushrooms are a delight to have, but they come with a caveat, especially honey mushrooms.
This fungus grows in the wild but is quite popular in the kitchen.
Some may think this mushroom taste like honey because of its name; however, it’s mainly due to its golden hue.
So, this brings us to the question- what does honey mushroom taste like? As intricate as its variants and features are, this fungus is mild in flavor with a sweet undertone.
Continue reading as we not only reveal its taste profile but also guide you on how to identify this mushroom and ways to cook it.
What are Honey Mushrooms?
Honey mushrooms belong to the Armillaria genus of fungi, although it’s classified as Armillaria mellea.
This type of mushroom is grown mainly in the Northern hemisphere.
These mushrooms are edible and a delicacy but a parasite for trees.
They feed on wood, which is why you’ll see these fungi mostly around hardwood trunks.
It grows in clusters, while some spread out or grow from a single base.
These aren’t good for plants but safe for human consumption.
Different types of honey fungi are available that may look slightly different despite having similar characteristics.
Check some of the common types below:
- Armillaria Mellea.
It’s the common kind of honey mushroom identifiable by its small stem rings, yellowish scaly cap, and firm flesh.
This type is rich in flavor with a slight note of bitterness.
- Armillaria tabescens.
This kind of Armillaria lacks a stem ring, and its gills turn pinkish brown when it matures.
It’s also known as ringless honey mushrooms.
- Armillaria ostoyae.
It’s known for its distinctive black scales and dark brown color.
Hence, this kind is commonly known as dark honey mushrooms.
- Armillaria Gallica.
It has a cobweb-like ring and bulbous stem compared to other variants.
What Do Honey Mushrooms Taste Like?
The taste of honey mushrooms may vary based on the variants and when it’s picked.
For instance, fungi gathered during fall or late summer are slightly sweeter than ones picked during summer.
This variety of mushrooms is known for its meaty and firm texture.
It tastes best when consumed young than the matured ones.
Aged honey fungi are fibrous, making them uneasy about eating.
However, it makes an excellent stock.
Dry the stems to make vegetable stocks for soups and sauces.
It has a distinct flavor and slightly leaves a bitter aftertaste.
Therefore, we recommend cooking it with other ingredients than alone.
Also, to remove this bitterness, parboiled the mushrooms for five minutes.
Discard the water once it’s done.
This kind of mushroom has a subtle flavor with a sweet undertone.
It may be chewy or crunchy, depending on how it’s prepared.
Unlike other regular mushrooms, this one has a unique flavor, making it challenging to compare its taste with others.
Nonetheless, it’s an incredible-tasting wild fungus that’s not only delicious but also has medicinal properties.
It protects against diseases like Alzheimer’s and boosts the immune system.
They’re natural antibiotics and are rich in protein.
It also contains essential minerals and calcium for improving teeth and bones’ health.
How to Identify and Cook Honey Mushrooms?
Before you with the cooking process, the first step is to identify whether it’s an authentic honey mushroom or its lookalike.
Be wary of this since several fungi look like this one.
Several species of Pholiota and Sulfur Tuft are poisonous mushrooms that look closely similar to this kind of fungus.
Here are some tips for identifying authentic honey mushrooms:
- Direct attachment of gills to the stem.
- It has a white spore print that helps differentiate it from the poisonous Galerina Marginata. .
- This kind has a whitish and long stem. Honey mushrooms cap flatten out once it’s matured, which is usually a convex shape. .
- It has speckly fuzzy or little hairs on the cap.
Eliminate the dirt from the mushrooms properly before you start cooking.
Once it’s done, boil them for a few minutes to remove the bitterness.
Only after these steps proceed with the cooking.
You may prepare any style, from stir-frying to stews.
Whether stewed, roasted, or braised, the cooking duration should last more than ten minutes, preferably an hour.
If you’re having this variety of mushrooms for the first time, go easy.
There are cases of stomach upset after consuming honey fungi.
Honey mushrooms are wild fungi that aren’t readily found in supermarkets.
One needs to forage into the forest to get this kind of mushroom.
Most people shy away from this kind of fungi as there are inhibitions about its authenticity.
However, hunting for this mushroom gets easier once you can distinguish it.
Besides, honey fungi have special features or traits that will help you find the real one in the wild.