Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dryad's Saddle - Polyporus squamosus

Spring brings a great many things, and for the mushroom hunter there is nothing greater then the morel. However there is an edible mushroom that appears even before the morel, and that is the dryad's saddle.  Generally considered not a “choice” edible mushroom with a little love and care can be quite delicious.

The Dryad's saddle is a polypore, meaning it has little holes instead of gills. These holes are visible to the naked eye on this species. It usually grows out of dead or dying hardwoods (ie not on the ground). It has a yellow and brown variegated pattern on the cap, and is white underneath. They can grow quite large, but the edible ones are the smaller variety. This is an easy mushroom to identify, is often the first in spring. The tell tale you have the right mushroom is this is the only mushroom that smells like watermelon. That is right it smells like watermelon.

This is a rather tough, tasteless mushroom (aren't most of them tasteless?), so its a good idea to treat it like a tough cut of meat. Cut into smalls pieces, marinate if you chose, and/or chose a long cooking method. Be sure if you have never had this before to try just a small piece at first, as different people can have different reactions to wild mushrooms. Also never consume wild mushrooms with alcohol, some mushrooms are “edible” as is but alcohol can unlock some nasty effects in them.

That is all for now, recipes forthcoming!