There’s a lot of boletes out there to hunt, and they can be mystifying to try and identify if you’re trying to make a meal out of them. Scaber Stalks, also known as Leccinums, Aspen or Birch Boletes, are one of the more easy boletes to identify. Saying that they’re easy to identify though is a little misleading. Basically, It’s relatively easy to tell if a mushroom is a Leccinum, but it can be difficult to tell exactly which species of Leccinum it is.
The ease of ID’ing comes from the stem, as you’ll notice in the pictures I’ve taken. The black fibers or “scabers” as their called are instantly recognizable.
These will start to fruit in the summer where I’m from in Minnesota, just as the chanterelles start to fruit in early July. They’re easy to spot, with their large, colorful caps and tell-tale black lines or “scabers” running down their stems.
As their name implies, more often than not when I see them, they’re growing with aspen or birch, although I’ve seen species with the dark red cap growing in stands of pure Norway pine as well in Northern Minnesota.
There are definitely a couple tricks to know here. The first thing I’ll mention is that I don’t typically eat them fresh unless they’re very small buttons. I prefer to dry them, since I think it concentrates their flavor, and also bypasses any danger of under-cooking. When eaten fresh these are good, but a bit mild.
If you want to eat some of the larger mushrooms fresh, you should know too that the stalk is much harder than the cap, which means they cook at different rates, so you’ll need to add the stalk to the pan first, before adding the cap.
Also, one more thing-these are the only mushroom that I’ve ever gotten sick from eating. Once I carelessly undercooked a couple slices of them I was simmering in a soup. They made me puke a couple times, and that was it, but it was still no fun. I still eat these fresh, but I make darn sure to cook them all the way through.
Needless to say, drying negates the possible digestive upset, so it’s part of the reason I suggest to dry them.
Here’s some favorite recipes I like specifically for Leccinums, or boletes in general
- Wild Mushroom Conserve
- Wild Mushroom Duxelles
- Dried Wild Mushroom Duxelles
- Fresh Bolete Butter
- Fresh Boletes With Radish Snaps and Peas
- Fresh Bolete Julienne
- Baby Chicken With Bolete-Wine Sauce
- Mixed Wild Mushrooms With Persillade
- Cream of Bolete Soup With Black Walnut Pesto
- Shrimp With Bolete Infused Soy-Brandy Cream
- Dried Bolete Infused Soy Sauce
- Porcini-Pike Bolognese
- Dried Bolete Crusted Pheasant
- Shortribs With Dried Boletes and Root Vegetables
- Beef Commercial With Dried Boletes
- Dried Bolete-Cheese Fritters
- Homemade Ricotta Cheese With Dried Boletes
- Dried Bolete Gnudi Dumplings
- Fresh Boletes Cooked In Sour Cream