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Mousseron mushrooms are a light-beige to cinnamon brown in color. Flat to bell-shaped caps, no more than an inch across, sit upon thin stems. The stems can often be tough, but they are edible; the caps are often harvested on their own. Mousseron mushrooms have a big flavor and a rich taste. Some liken its flavor to that of a Porcini mushroom. The texture of these is firm and they can be somewhat chewy, but have also been described as slightly crunchy. Rehydrated Mousseron mushrooms retain their flavor and texture.
Limited in availability, Mousseron mushrooms are available in the late spring through the summer months.
Mousseron mushrooms are known botanically as Marasmius oreades. ‘Mousseron’ is French for “growing on moss”. Its scientific name come from Greek: "Marasmius" meaning decay and "oreades" were mountain nymphs (or fairies) in Greek legend. These small mushrooms can be found growing in lawns and in meadows, in swaths of rings or crescents, earning its English common name: “Fairy Ring” mushrooms.
Mousseron mushrooms contain all of the essential amino acids that sustain life, in addition to significant amounts of copper, iron, zinc, folic acid and protein. Studies show that the Fairy Ring mushrooms also contain antibacterial properties.
Mousseron mushrooms hold up well to cooking for longer periods of time and braising is recommended. The mushrooms pair well with poultry and pastas. Add Mousseron mushrooms to omelets or stir-fry. The “Fairy Ring” mushrooms can be dried, and like many of the Marasmius varieties, rehydrates very well after drying. Mousseron mushrooms have a good shelf life and can be stored in the refrigerator, covered with a damp cloth for up to a week.
Mousseron mushrooms are referred to as ‘Bonnet mushrooms’ in Scotland, likely for the shape of the fungi’s cap. The largest fairy ring in the world encircles England’s ancient Stonehenge and is estimated to be a millennium in age. Another ancient circle exists in Canada where the Blackfoot of Alberta call them kok-a-tos-i-u. The Fairy Ring mushrooms have a place in folklore and tradition: In Germany lore the rings were the result of witches dancing in circles on the eve of May Day, and others believe the rings were left by lightning strikes or existed to mark the site of buried treasure. Some Native American tribes believed the rings to be caused by dancing buffalo.
Mousseron mushrooms are a soil dwelling fungus, unlike many species that grow on both live and decaying wood. Fairy rings are not unique to the Marasmius oreades species; the patterned growth is also common with Agaricus campestris, the Field Mushroom and Agaricus arvensis, the Horse Mushroom among others. The pattern is created when the portion of the mushroom living underground, the mycelia, grows outward from the center, robbing the soil of nutrients. The mushrooms fruit at the outer edge of this growth, in a circular pattern. The circles grow larger each year; the circumference of the ring indicating the age of the fungus. Some rings are guessed to be hundreds of years old. In Europe, Mousseron mushrooms have a second season in the fall. Mousseron mushrooms are sometimes associated with death, which may be linked to their propensity for growing in and around cemeteries. These small, tasty mushrooms can be found at farmer’s markets in the United States and throughout Europe.
Recipes that include Mousseron Mushrooms. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Gastronomy Domine||Chicken with Mousseron Mushrooms|
|Rojak Rendezvous||Lamb Chops with Mousseron Mushrooms|