Cep or Porcini Mushroom

(Scientific Name: Boletus edulis) A rich meaty flavored mushroom that has a large, round cap, pale yellowish brown to dark reddish brown in color, that grows 2 to 12 inches in width and may reach several pounds in weight. As the mushroom matures and turns darker in color, pores develop on the underside of the cap that become yellow in color. Grown on the ground under conifers and hardwood trees in the North American woods, Cèpes develop a cap and stem with a firm, thick, white flesh. When prepared, the meat of the Cèp/Porcini provide a distinctive and assertive flavor that is excellent when added to soups, sauces, stuffing, fish, and other dishes. Available fresh, frozen and dried, the mushrooms can be broiled, sautéed, stewed, or baked as ingredients with other foods. This mushroom variety is commonly referred to as Cèpes and bolet ou Porcini in French or stone mushrooms and Porcini in English.

When dried, the porcini mushroom is available throughout the year but when fresh, they are only available June to November. When selecting raw mushrooms, choose those that are fresh looking and have firm caps and stems, avoiding mushrooms with shriveled caps, dried stems or noticable blemishes. Before using, slice the mushroom in half lengthwise to inspect the inside for evidence of insects, which can enter the mushroom through the stem. When storing the mushrooms, wrap unwashed pieces lightly in paper towels or place in a paper bag, never store in unventilated plastic. The Cèp/Porcini mushrooms can be kept in the refrigerator for only 2 or 3 days before they begin to deteriorate. It is best to eat them as soon as possible and they are not a good variety to freeze. Dried mushrooms may be stored indefinitely.

When cleaning, avoid using water because it will reduce the flavor of the mushroom and too often they retain unnecessary water. Use a brush to clean sand, grit and other debris from the pits and ridges. If it is necessary to use water, use as little as possible or use a damp towel to clean the surface and dry quickly with a paper towel.


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