Wine Cap Mushrooms
Inventory, lb : 0
This item was last sold on : 04/17/17
Wine Cap mushrooms are cultivated in wood chips or hay. In the wild, they are typically found on woodchips in cultivated and other landscaped areas. Wine Cap mushrooms, unlike many mushroom varieties, require at least partial sunlight to fruit. White stems emerge from the substrate with burgundy wine-colored caps, around 5 centimeters in diameter, that are folded over and attached at a point on the stem. As the mushroom matures the cap detaches from the stem and flattens out, exposing pale gills beneath the cap. Remnants from the connection are left on the edge of the cap in a ridged on the stem from where the cap was attached create a wrinkled ring (annulus) or crown. As the Wine Cap mushrooms mature, the convex caps flatten out and turn a burgundy-tinged, tawny brown and the gills change to a lilac grey. The white stems can reach up to 20 centimeters tall. The flesh is white and firm. Wine Cap mushrooms are typically harvested when caps measure between 6 and 10 centimeters in diameter and before the gills begin to darken (indicating the presence of spores). Wine Cap mushrooms offer a mild, nutty flavor with hints of potatoes and red wine.
Wine Cap mushrooms are available in the late spring and through the early fall months.
Wine Cap mushrooms are a fungus scientifically identified as Stropharia rugoso-annulata. The common name comes from the red wine color of the mushroom’s cap when it is at its preferred size for eating. Wine Cap mushrooms are often referred to as “Stroph” or King Stropharia mushrooms, and sometimes Garden Giants. Wine Cap mushrooms can grow rather large if allowed; in the right conditions, a mature specimen could weigh up to 5 pounds. Wine Cap mushrooms can be found in the wild and are cultivated in outdoor spaces, alongside other plants or vegetables.
Wine Cap mushrooms, like other mushroom varieties, are rich in fiber, vitamin D, and protein. Wine Caps contain 17 different amino acids, including the 8 essential amino acids that humans need for survival. Wine Cap mushrooms are also said to be beneficial for good heart health and digestion.
Wine Cap mushrooms need be fully cooked prior to eating. In their button stage, the young, red-capped Wine Cap mushrooms, can be eaten with the stem and offer a tender yet crunchy texture when lightly cooked in oil with garlic. The small mushrooms pair well with meat sauces and risotto. Roast or braise Wine Cap mushrooms along with other fall vegetables and serve with meat, foul or fish. Remove the stems from the larger, more mature mushrooms (they become stringy) and sauté caps whole or diced. Substitute Wine Cap mushrooms for portobello mushrooms in sandwiches or on salads. Store Wine Cap mushrooms in a paper bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.
According to mycologists (those that study mushrooms and fungus), the Wine Cap has no poisonous look-a-like. The wine-colored caps, white stems and lilac gills combined with the annulus around the stem are very unique to this species of mushroom. The name Stropharia means ring or belt, and rugoso-annulata is Latin for “wrinkled ring.”
Wine Cap mushrooms were first cultivated in Germany in the late 1960s. The mushrooms fruit at relatively low temperatures compared to some other mushrooms, making them ideal for cooler, temperate climates. They were thought to have originally come west to Europe from Russia with Napoleon. King Stropharia mushrooms can be found in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, and in some states in the Mid-West. They are common in Europe and have recently been introduced to New Zealand. Wine Caps are natural soil enrichers and are well-known as an accompaniment to vegetables in the garden. The mushrooms fertilize the soil for the following years’ crops. Wine Cap mushrooms may be spotted at farmers markets or specialty stores.