General notions about coconut
Coconut is one of the most popular mushrooms in our country and beyond. It was already used for gastronomic uses already in ancient Rome and even then it was highly sought after. Its scientific name is amanita caesarea and it belongs to a family that also has lethal varieties such as the amanita phalloides. Coconut is not very popular in Italy and currently finding one means having a good dose of luck. It has a delicate flavor that lends itself to flavoring refined dishes. It is not advisable to venture out in search of these mushrooms if you are not familiar with them first because there are numerous species that resemble them but have a high degree of toxicity. in any case it is better to avoid going to collect mushrooms if you are not sure of your work.
Main characteristics of coconut
Coconut grows spontaneously in deciduous forests but in some areas it can also be found in the presence of strawberry trees or heather while in others it grows under conifers. Its presence over the years has increasingly diminished and it is currently difficult to find specimens in European forests. It grows in warm areas and finds an ideal habitat in calcareous soils. The full development of these mushrooms occurs between late summer and early autumn. It is a classic umbrella mushroom and its diameter can range from six to twenty centimeters. The surface of the hat has an orange-red color and is shiny. When the mushroom is still immature it is all contained within a volva called egg created by the spores from which the coconut originates.
How to use it
Coconut is an edible mushroom that is suitable for making many preparations. It has a rather delicate and pleasant flavor with a particularly pleasant sweetish aftertaste on the palate. The coconut is cleaned and cut into thin slices to be served raw in salads or diced and seasoned only with extra virgin olive oil, salt and a grind of pepper. Coconut can also be preserved using the pickle technique or after drying it in an area sheltered from the sun but well ventilated. However, part of its flavor is lost after drying and it would be preferable to eat it fresh to fully enjoy all its organoleptic characteristics. When it begins to deteriorate, the coconut gives off a smell of rotten eggs.
Coconut: Useful information
Coconut is similar in appearance to other mushrooms well known for their toxicity such as Amanita muscaria. The accidental ingestion of inedible mushrooms can cause serious complications and even, in some cases, lead to death. To avoid any problems it is best to know the coconut well and never harvest it before it comes out of its egg. In fact, the envelope that contains it can be easily confused with other less edible eggs. Cocci have gills of a very intense yellow color while poisonous varieties have a more evanescent and less evident shade of green or yellow. Furthermore, in the poisonous species the volva is much further from the stem even if they have an identical color.