Porcini mushrooms are known as an Italian mushroom, as they are used quite often in dishes that are Italian. They are very popular and if you have a chance to get your hands on some, you should! You can find them in the stores sometimes, but if you truly want to have them at your fingertips for Italian recipes whenever you like, you can grow them yourself. Learn more about the porcini mushroom and then get growing with our step-by-step guide!
All about Porcini Mushrooms
Porcinis are most commonly found in Europe, as well as in areas of North America. Sometimes they grow on their own, but they often grow in small clusters. They thrive in Italy, mainly because of the types of trees that they enjoy. They grow best in forests that are filled with a mix of both coniferous trees and deciduous trees, such as spruce, pine, birch, fir, and Eastern hemlock.
Porcinis have been used by the Italians for hundreds of years, adding richness and depth to a wide variety of dishes. They have a body that is considered to be quite dense and meaty, which is why they work so well in many different Italian dishes. They can truly hold up to the strong Italian flavors.
They have a white stem and you can tell that they are starting to mature if they have begun to turn a yellow-brown color. The cap of the porcini is a rusty brown color that will also darken considerably as it ages. The caps of these beautiful mushrooms can reach as large as 10 inches in diameter and they may have a sticky feel to them. While most mushrooms have gills under the cap, the porcini has that are called tubes.
Many people note that the porcini has sort of a yeasty smell. While the cause of this is not known, it is interesting to note that the porcini mushroom has a much higher water content than many other mushrooms that are edible. The texture of the porcini is creamy and smooth and some describe the distinct flavor it possesses as nutty.
One of the best things about porcinis is that they have high protein content, making them a great stand-in for meat in a wide variety of dishes. Many people like to use these in a rich tomato sauce and serve this over simple pasta. This is a great way to get the protein that you need in a vegetarian and Italian dish.
Other dishes that work well with porcinis include stews, rice dishes and other pasta recipes. These mushrooms will hold up well even when roasted, and are very tasty when braised or sautéed. Use fresh porcinis within a week when they are freshly grown, or freeze and use for months.
Growing Porcini Mushrooms At Home
If you love the taste of porcinis and want to try your hand at growing them at home, we have the steps all ready for you to follow. Unlike some other more difficult mushroom varieties, porcinis do not have to be grown in lumber. They can work in sawdust just fine, and will turn out beautifully so that you can use them in Italian dishes whenever you want. As with most mushrooms, they love a moist and humid environment.
Things You Need:
In order to get started growing your own porcinis, you will need the following items:
- Porcini mushroom spores (available at gardening supply stores and online)
- Corrugated cardboard
- Duct tape
- Spray bottle
- Step 1
Begin with corrugated cardboard. Cut it so that it is about 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide. You can find this cardboard at most hardware and big box stores. It is the thicker variety of cardboard with the ribbon-like layer of paper in the middle.
- Step 2
Inoculate the sawdust with the mushroom spores. Do this by adding water to the sawdust (a small amount) and mixing it with the mushroom spores. Coat the ribbed side of the cardboard with the inoculated sawdust completely.
- Step 3
Take the cardboard and roll it into a sort of soft taco shape. The side that has been brushed with sawdust should be on the inside of the “taco.” Use the duct tape to secure the cardboard and keep it from unfolding.
- Step 4
Place the cardboard “taco” in a spot where they will have plenty of humidity (95 percent is ideal), as well as cool temperatures around 60 degrees F. A greenhouse is ideal, but if it is spring or autumn, the cardboard taco can be placed outside in a shady spot of the garden.
- Step 5
Spray the cardboard roll every single day to keep them incredibly moist, as porcini mushrooms thrive in moist areas.
- Step 6
Slice the mushrooms off of the cardboard after they have reached the size that you desire. Rinse thoroughly before eating and then prepare as desired!