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46 responses to “Honey Mushrooms, Caution and Pierogi”

  1. Jessa

    I’ve been turned away from these many a time by snobby mycologist friends.

    Last time, I actually picked them and then was told to throw them out by the guy we were out with…because they were “not worth it”. Seems silly, since they are so plentiful and easy to pick (unlike the slither-around-in-the-mud-looking-for-mud-colored-holes black chantarelle, which is a b*tch to find).

    Now I know better. AND I know where there’s usually a GIANT patch of ’em right here in town!

  2. Rachel @ Dog Island Farm

    My husband’s coworker recently gave us 15lbs of honey mushrooms he had found. He picked a couple and I went through the task of IDing them like you did. Once I confirmed what they were he picked the rest and delivered them to us. We did a quick dry sautee on a couple of them to try and then dehydrated the rest. I’m glad to know how the cook and now what to do with them. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Paula

    Oh wow- mushrooms and filled dumplings in the same post!

  4. brent

    Hank – you always make me hungry – these mushrooms you refer to are a comfort food for those of use here in Manitoba of Ukrainian heritage. We call them ‘pidpenki’ – a fall time treasure – here in abundace after the first fall frosts – then picked, preserved (either frozen or canned) and then served at our traditional Ukrainian Christmas eve dinner – 12 meatless dishes and the pidpenki (slimy as they are) are one of the awaited for treasures – served in a cream sauce. Keep up the great writing. And – if you want to return to Manitoba for an adventure other than waterfowl hunting – let me know – and we can treat you to and incredible march ice-fishing adventure – and some of our famed lake Winnipeg walleye – a treat worth driving from California for!

  5. J.R. Young

    We have chanterelles coming in by the bucket load right now. We were out again today looking for some king boletes but had no luck. We found many slippery jacks and a matte jack which we have not found before.

    I like the winter mushrooms, but I can’t wait until spring to chase morels in the Sierra and in WA.

  6. Cork@GCTMag

    Nicely written and edifying, Hank: felt like I was in a worthwhile mushroom hunting field course!

  7. Nate

    Great description of the ID/keying process. Those pierogis look delicious!

  8. Bpaul

    Fantastic post. Excellent keying photographs.

    I like honey mushrooms, and boy howdy can they be prolific in the right circumstances. Often, up here, the right circumstances turn out to be an area that has recently been selectively logged. The forest is generally full of small trees and ground debris, and feels like it is under a bit of pressure. Often, honeys will explode over such a landscape.

    Interestingly, I’ve never had the sliminess happen when I cooked them. I’ll file them under “good for drying and soups” then.

    Your Northern Fan,


  9. Bpaul

    Also, Fried Chicken Mushrooms are one of the few wild mushrooms I’ve definitely shown a sensitivity to. A shame, because I run into them on a pretty regular basis. And, I enjoy the sound of their Latin name.


  10. Ken albala

    They’re quite beautiful – the shrooms and tis the season for piroshki! Now if I only knew how to forage! Ken

  11. Carol

    Excellent post as usual, Hank! I should show it to my husband. He’s very cautious about the mushrooms I bring home from a foray and resists any that “look dangerous”–i.e., with gills and a central stalk. Oyster mushrooms? Fine. Chanterelles? Yippee! Honey mushrooms? Nope, no way. I found a cluster of armillaria mellea last year–a real find, as there aren’t that many edible mushroom species in L.A.–and DH wouldn’t hear of eating them. I sat him down with Arora’s book and painstakingly went through the keying process with him. Hey, I even got the correct ID! And what did my beloved say? “If it’s that much trouble to identify them, I don’t want us to take the risk!” and he made me promise not to eat any. So into the compost heap they went, deep sigh. And I’d have been willing to eat some secretively, except that if I’d been one of the unfortunates with a GI sensitivity, I would never have heard the end of it! The things we do for marital harmony…

  12. Rachel @ Dog Island Farm

    As I mentioned, we dried ours. Last night I reconstituted them in a skillet with some water and added them to a turkey vegetable soup. They didn’t thicken anything up, including the water I used to reconstitute them. I’ll have to tweak your recipe for these dried ones.

  13. Ansel

    Honey Mushrooms are actually a species complex and different specimens can vary quite a bit. I have collected them on the east coast and interestingly, did not find them slimy at all. Maybe a different part of the species complex? The ones that I found had a deep umami flavor which was quite distinctive. Maybe the host species affects the flavor?

  14. Doris the Goat

    You are my hero, Hank. I come from morel country but have yet to venture out into East Coast mushrooming, in part because morels are the only ones I know. Maybe this year will be the spring I start to explore the Pennsylvania hinterlands….

  15. fishesandloaves

    Wonderful post! Thanks for all the details on spotting a safe mushroom. Very helpful.
    Happy New Year!!

  16. Daniel Klein

    I’m cautious about my mushrooms. But I swear I’ve seen those before, and they do look edible. Good on you for doing the leg work and eating them. Also, wonderful post for the clear pictures of the gills etc. really helpful. Too snowy in MN right now for any mushrooms, next year.

  17. Peter

    Nice blewit pun.

    I found a ton of honey mushrooms last summer, and traded them for a big chicken of the woods. It was pretty hot, though, so not much else fruited; my black trumpet spot was sadly deficient.

  18. Rachel @ Dog Island Farm

    Hank, I made these on Thursday from the dried ones and they did act as a thickening agent. I’m wondering if it’s because it’s fat soluble rather than water soluble because it thickens after adding the butter, but not when adding water. Turns out, however, that honey mushrooms and my stomach don’t get along. My husband is fine with them though. They were delicious though and I want to try this recipe with a different species.

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  20. Jose

    I found and collected both the Honey and the Fried Chicken this fall. I’d not been a big fan of either, thinking that they were both a little too bland to bother with.
    But I decided that the problem might be with me rather than the mushrooms.
    And so I decided to treat them as a source of umami in oriental styled soups.

  21. Brent

    Hank – followup on my earlier post – we simply can the mushroos in 1 quart sealers – and yes they are slimy after that process. Re the walleye fishing- dead serious about the invite – just get here and we’ll take care of the rest – they’ve been catching now – but you can get some pretty serious action in March. We have some other tasty water creatures here too!- specifically Goldeye and Tulibee – catch, smoke, enjoy – might even be able to line up a day with a commercial fisherman who places his nets under the ice….pretty neat adventure.

  22. Liitis

    Hi, its bice to see people to appreciate the wild mushrooms, i terribly miss the time i lived in my country, Finland, where it was breeze pick mushrooms. Here where i live its not so easy if you dont know the landowner. Meaning its illegal to pick with out permission.
    But i must say, im little suprised your saying ;”but they looked so much like the inedible russulas and lactarias”. Cos those are my favorite mushrooms, wich i have eaten my whole life, lactarias are incredibly tasty when handled properly and made for russian/carelian style of salad. You Do have to know wich ones to pick from those, not all tastes good or are edible. And russulas are all so good but nothing spectacular, but when you mix it with others they add nice touch of taste.
    But if you want to know more, contact me on email. I dont want to go on for ever with my comment, i just than you for very nice blog wich i follow with intrest when i have time 🙂

  23. Ajna

    I also live in Sacramento, but am an Eastern European transplant. Some of my happiest childhood memories are picking mushrooms with my parents, including oyster mushrooms, puffballs, and some bright orange lactaria. I’d love to get back into mushroom picking. Do you know of any expert foragers who are willing to give lessons? My husband and I just came from a walk along American River, where we found a ton of large, russet collored gilled mushrooms. They look a lot like lactaria deliciosa, but are not “milky” nor get discolored when damaged. I’d love to find out what they are. While we were there, we picked some wonderful miner’s lettuce and chickweed as well.

  24. Kathryn Hill

    I’ve found honeys many times but have not tried them yet … I’ve always been skeptical of them for some reason.

    BTW, I can’t eat hedgehogs for some reason … they make me nauseous.

  25. Mama Kelly aka Jia

    Foraging is a skill I lack and wish I had access to a trusted personto learn from. Mushrooms are a favorite foodtuff and I would love to be able to just go out and find such delicacies growing wild.

    Your pierogie sound fabuous btw

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  27. David Brewin

    The Cherokees call them “slicks”.

  28. Josie Lee Suská

    Just came across them in the Czech Republic, where they are called Václavka obecná. Good to know the slime released when cooking is normal. They were perfect in a turkey stuffing recipe!

  29. Barry

    Great article! I’m just getting into shrooming and found a ton of the honeys today. Thanks for taking the time to write this!

  30. elizabeth agatha knappert

    best explanation for determining honey mushroom i have found yet, thank you!

  31. Jose Cisneros

    For a time I thought them not worth the picking
    and wondered why my Polish friends canned them
    by the bushel. What did they know that I didn’t?
    Then on a whim I tossed a hand full in a soup I was making.
    Umami! They are loaded with umami.
    The flavor of the Honey mushroom is a bit faint and
    in truth verges on insipid but it packs a big
    punch in the umami department.

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  33. Eric Logan

    I live in Northern California near the Trinity river. This year and last I’ve had a nice little bloom of honey mushrooms in my yard (fruiting where there used to be a black oak tree). I recently picked some button-sized ones and sauteed them in olive oil with onion, salt, pepper. They were delicious! I plan to make use of as many as emerge. I put a little fence around the area, and today I watered the area lightly to encourage fruiting.
    I have seen them in the local woods here-and-there but have never eaten them until now.

  34. John V. Karavitis

    I love mushrooms. I wish we had a greater variety available in grocery stores. I also agree that it’s very important to make sure you don’t eat any poisonous ones. I love my liver more! LOL!

    John V. Karavitis

  35. Robin Brann

    The link to the recipe is gone.Can you repost it? I must have some honey mushroom pierogi!!

  36. Sara

    There is a huge colony of honey mushrooms in Oregon! 🙂

  37. Sydney

    Thanks for the great post! The link to the recipe appears to have disappeared. Can you repost it? I’m finding bushels of honey mushrooms this week!

  38. Michael

    I first tried Armillaria mellea 35 years ago and didn’t care for them…thought they had a metallic taste. I mostly ignored them after that. About a decade ago, while out photographing mushrooms with a Polish friend, he suggested par-boiling the honeys first. I have found that just a couple of minute blanch removed the metallic taste that I have found so unpleasant. After that I like them in stir fries, where I find they have a mild shiitake like taste.

    Also, take the stipes, just the stipes, and remove the outer ‘skin’. Take the resulting core and fry them in a VERY hot, dry (no oil), caste iron pan with a little salt…absolutely delicious.

    I no longer pass by the large clusters of Armillaria.

  39. Manfred nemy

    Be careful with these. Some people get very sick eating them. I have eaten them many many times and love them. However my brother on one occasion and a friends wife on another got very sick on them. Extreme diarrea, nausea, etc. it did pass but they were very ill. I’ll pick them again when the first frost sets in.

  40. Manfred nemy

    And by the way there were 5-6 of us eating them each time. No adverse affects by the other people.

  41. mike kohn

    Here’s a GREAT soup you can make with Honey mushrooms.

    Creamy Hungarian Mushroom Soup

    1/2 stick of Butter
    1 lb fresh honey mushrooms, finely sliced/chopped
    1 medium onion, diced finely, or about 2 cups diced
    2 cups Chicken stock
    1 T Paprika
    1 T Soy Sauce
    2 tsp Dill Weed or a fresh dill head
    1 cup of Milk
    3 T Flour
    2 tsp Lemon Juice
    1/2 cup Sour Cream
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Melt butter in a stock pot on medium/high heat. Saute’ onions until they turn clear, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, stir and saute’ for about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, soy sauce, dill, paprika. Reduce heat, Simmer covered for 15 minutes. Now either use an immersion blender and puree in the stock pot, or remove in stages to a blender and puree, return to the pot. Whisk flour into milk and add, along with sour cream, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well, Simmer on low for another 5 minutes or so and serve. Mmmmmmmmm!

  42. David

    Found the motherload of Honey Mushrooms on Saturday. Split into two prep streams; first, I’m drying bags of them (mushroom powder?) and second, making Mushroom Catsup (turns out to be much more viscous than the type I’ve made with Champignon — as you’ve noted.)

  43. David

    I noticed about thirty clusters of these beautiful honey mushrooms right outside my backdoor a few days ago. I of course went through and painstakingly identified them and went to harvesting them. I took about 10-15 large caps, cleaned and cut them up with some wild onions. Seasoned with peper and garlic and sauteed them in olive oil. Then I added them to a stew I had going of chicken, celery and cream of mushroom soup. OMG! Served over Jasmine rice! Exquisite! Very good comfort food! Definitely my new fave mushrooms!

  44. john komosa

    FYI, as a general rule, to avoid stomach problems (for some people) honey mushrooms (armillarias) should be boiled first, the water thrown out, and then prepared whichever you wish….
    (of course not if you are going to dry them)

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