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Wine Cap Mushrooms – What You Need to Know

Wine Cap Mushrooms

The Wine cap mushroom goes by the scientific name of Stropharia rugosoannulata. It is also known as a Stroph, King Stropharia, Burgundy Mushroom, Garden Giant or even Godzilla Mushroom. It is an edible mushroom native to Southern Europe and North America. First cultivated in Germany during the late 1960s, they were believed to have travelled west from Russia with Napoleon. Wine cap mushrooms have the general shape of a normal white button, cremini or portabella mushroom. They are an adaptable and easy-to-grow species. With a flavor hinting of potatoes and red wine, this variety is grown all over the world.

Where To Find Wine Cap Mushrooms

While some mushrooms can be extremely difficult to locate due to their camouflage effects in nature, others can be so eye-catching that they stand out easily in the landscape. Wine cap mushrooms fall into this latter category. At the same time, we ordinarily don’t see mushrooms in very busy areas, but with the Wine cap, you’ll find them growing in urban and suburban areas making them relatively straightforward to find.

How To Identify Them

Wine cap mushrooms are Agaric mushrooms, meaning they possess a fruiting body whose cap is different from the stalk and has gills on its underside. With a port-wine colored cap, it’s obvious as to why they have been so appropriately named the Wine cap mushroom.

Adolescent Wine caps start off with rounded burgundy colored caps. As they grow, that smooth cap detaches from its stem to create a flat top which becomes dry and cracked. Once this happens, the color transitions to a yellow-brown. Underneath the mushroom’s cap are its gills which start as a pale color and, as they grow, become a grey to purple color. With Stropharia meaning ring or belt and Rugoso-Annulata in Latin meaning “wrinkled ring”, these gills are unique to this species of mushroom. The stems consistently stay a white color and, once the mushroom is sliced, has that same white color on the inside.

Their size is something that can undoubtedly make your jaw drop. With its stems being able to reach up to 8 inches (20 cm) in length and its cap, a diameter of 10 inches (25 cm), you’ll probably be able to spot these giants fairly easily. In most cases, however, they are consumed when they are at a medium-size, e.g. averaging around 2 to 5 inches (6 to 13 cm) in diameter.

Growing Methods

Growing kits are readily available and as one of the easiest mushrooms to grow; they will cause you to feel like a pro in no time. Patience and enthusiasm are the two main requirements to get started with. More specifically, Wine caps grow so easily that they can thrive on items like sawdust, straw or wood chips.

If you’re not purchasing a grow kit, you’ll be able to find plug spawns. Either method will make it easier to grow your own mushrooms.

If you want to step right outside of the box, creating your own mushrooms spores and growing mushrooms from scratch is additionally something you will be able to do. Obtaining high-quality items like nutritionally dense soil and fresh wood chips or straw are very important. At Greenhouse Emporium, you’ll be able to find a step by step guide on how to plant this species of mushroom.

Always make sure you use the right humidity and temperatures when growing mushrooms as they are very specific and cannot be tampered with.

Health Benefits Of Wine Cap Mushrooms

Mushrooms in general have considerable nutritional value and Wine cap mushrooms are no different. They contain fiber, protein, iron, copper, calcium, amino acids and vitamin D. If you need a little extra vitamin D, place some mushrooms in the sun for a short period – around 30 to 60 minutes should suffice. The mushrooms will soak up a significant amount of vitamin D. Eating them helps the body absorb this vitamin more readily than conventional supplements.

Cooking Methods

Wine cap mushrooms have a firm texture with a mild nutty, earthy flavor. There is also a hint of potatoes and red wine in them too. The stem has a stringy texture, similar to that of asparagus, making it an enjoyable part of the mushroom to eat.

When it comes to cooking, you can never go wrong by using a little salt and butter. However, there are some great recipes available online to assist you in creating something truly delicious with these mushrooms.

If you want something a little bit on the fancier side which is more presentable to guests, a simple stuffed mushroom will create a satisfying meal:-

  1. Sauté onions, garlic, a pepper of your choice and the stems of the mushrooms in olive oil.
  2. Grate some cheese, e.g.  gruyere, asiago, mozzarella, or parmesan.
  3. Place the cooked vegetables into the mushroom caps. Sprinkle with the cheese and throw into a 190C-degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Turn on your grill/broiler for more crisping. Keep a close eye on the mushrooms so they are not overdone.

Conclusion

Wine cap mushrooms are easy to grow, easy to identify in the wild, and are delicious to eat. Their health benefits and simple cooking options make them a great choice for trying something different.

If you do ever find a giant Wine cap mushroom, make sure to document its ridiculous size. And thank Napoleon for bringing them to an area near you.

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Wine Cap Mushrooms

David Moore

A computer programmer for many years, I have an interest in mushrooms for culinary and health purposes. I feel that there are many people who might find that the inclusion of mushrooms as part of their diet would provide a boost to their well-being.

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