Friday, September 12, 2014

Mushroom Season!

It´s Pilz (mushroom) season in Germany!

Did you know Germans eat more mushrooms than any other nation in Europe? About 2.9 kilos (6.4 lbs) per person per year. Source

With all of the local varieties available, it´s no wonder.

Many local restaurants will have special Pilz Karte (Mushroom Menus).
Like this one featuring Pfifferling (Chanterelles in English). Schiesshaus in Nürnberg has an awesome reputation for their seasonal menus, to include mushroom season!

Want to make your own? Head to your local farmer´s market! I went last week, and here´s what I found. 

Champignon (also called button mushrooms): Available, although 
not local, year round. Add to pasta, saute, top your pizza, they make cute hor d'oeuvres when stuffed. 
Steinpilz, cep, or porcini mushrooms: I am personally more used to seeing them dried. These are sliced in half, but are white on the outside, with a brown cap. Found in forests with spruce and beech trees, they have a nutty taste to them. Here are a bunch of recipes from the BBC. Their texture lends well to marinating. 

Maronen, or Chestnut mushrooms: The same, essentially as champignons, but this is a strain that grows browner and has a stronger taste. These, when allowed to grow, will become portobello mushrooms. Try them with garlic and parsley on toast
Pfifferling, or Chanterelle mushrooms: These are highly prized due to their short growing season (first rain of Fall to the first frost of Winter), and that they may be harder to find, as they sometimes nest deep in moss. Found in forests with spruce and/or pine trees, they are rather common in this area in season. These are best eaten cooked, raw chanterelles may irritate sensitive stomachs. Their taste pairs well with cream, and can be added to a pasta or meat with cream sauce, or in a cream of mushroom soup
Rotkappen, or Red Cap mushrooms: Found attached to birch trees. or in between blue berries, this mushroom is also rather versatile. When cooked, it turns a (harmless) black color. Featured in many Russian recipes. 
Krauce Glucke, called cauliflower mushroom or sparissis in English, is the most interesting (to look at anyway). Found near Douglas Fir and Pine trees, also rather common in Bavaria. Here is more information on how to find, and cook with them. Here are several recipes. 

A note on foraging for your own mushrooms: Please be VERY careful when doing so. There are over 60 poisonous varieties in the area, some of which closely resemble edible mushrooms. Also, be aware that picking mushrooms is prohibited by law in Naturschutzgebiete (protected nature areas), public parks, and fenced in forests, and areas where trees may be cut down (source: Frankischer Tag). It may also be prohibited in other areas.

Below is a chart of what local varieties are available when. Click on the links to find out more (in German) about each variety.
Milder Kiefernzapfenrüblingxx
Violetter Rötelritterlingxx

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