Big sunflower (Macrolepiota procera) is a type of fungus known to the people by several names: deer, roe deer, umbrella, parasol, scabies, parasol and goat. It belongs to the mushroom family and is not toxic, so it has become part of the diet in humans. It is one of the bigger mushrooms and is quite appreciated for its excellent quality. It looks reminiscent of a lady's umbrella.
This mushroom has a hat about 10 to 30 centimeters wide that is round in shape and later becomes open and flat. With older sunnies, the shape may become a little wavy or squeezed in some places. The hat is white in color, and towards the center it turns brownish gray and at the top is a dark bulge that is usually smooth and hard. Also, it is covered with brown scales that thin out at the edge. Sometimes rain can wash those scales off the hat, so the hat looks stripped.
The leaves are close to the waist, that is, under the hat and are very thick, wide and soft. Initially, they are white, later beige and dark yellow in age. Mushroom hymen is free. The waist is white in color and densely covered with brown wavy stripes. It is up to 40 centimeters long and only one to two centimeters wide, that is, four centimeters in base due to thickening. Its full height reaches the waist even before the hat takes on a flat appearance. Interestingly, the expert is hollow, but at the same time tough and tough because of which it is not eaten. It is thickly thickened at the bottom, and at the top it has a thicker ring with a torn edge that is movable. The ring is white in the upper part, while it is brown in the lower part.
As for the meat of the hat, it is white but pickled pink, soft and fibrous and of a very pleasant aroma and taste, while the flesh of the hat is hard, tough and fibrous. The spores are elliptical in shape, smooth and colorless, and the spore print is white.
Big sunshine can be found all over Europe in light, deciduous and mixed forests, along forest edges, in bushes, in hedges, along roads and on grassy areas. It grows in summer and autumn, namely from July to November, either individually or in groups.
In addition to big sunburst, sunburst includes:
- The humpback sunshine (Macrolepiota mastoidea) having a characteristic bulge on the hat (mastos - breast, nipple and ideos - similarity) which later becomes flat, the hat is somewhat narrower, 8 to 15 centimeters in diameter and grows from August to October
- Peeled sunblock (Macrolepiota excoriata), which has an oval-shaped hat first, later flat, and the foreskin shoots at it, making it look peeled off
- A puffy sunshine (Macrolepiota rhacodes), which has a ball-shaped hat, later open and flat, concentrically placed on the hat, and is slightly patchy and covered with cracked skin at the edge
- Poisonous sunburst (Macrolepiota venenta) which has a smooth stem and turns red in sections and damaged areas
Type of mushroom: sunflower, glasses, Macrolepiota procera
Sunflower habitat: deciduous and mixed forests, forest edges, hedges, shrubs
Sunflower Growth Time: from July to November
Sunflower cultivation method: slightly acidic to acidic soil, a combination of peat and soil into which specially treated mycelium grain is introduced
Use of sunflower: in culinary arts
Planting a big sunflower
This fungus grows well in the garden with endives, lettuce and garlic, while mycelium can also be dissipated with blueberries, hydrangeas and other herbs. As for soil, large sunflowers, like other sunflowers, are planted on a soil that is slightly acidic to acidic (pH value 4.5 to 6).
When planting a large sunflower, it should be dug 50 cm deep. Soil extracted is offset by a combination of peat and surface soil. Each year in early April, specially treated cereals mixed with mushroom mycelium are introduced into the soil. The soil is fertilized with compost or composted manure, and rainwater is used for watering.
Vintage big sunflower
The most important rule when picking sunflowers or any other mushrooms is to be very careful and to be well informed about the appearance of the fungus itself so as not to pick out the ones that are poisonous. For large sunflowers, there is a possibility of confusion with other types of sunflowers, but most of them are edible.
There are several poisonous ones, such as the Macrolepiota Veneti, which have star-shaped shells in the center of the hat and turn red in cross section. Also, it does not grow in forests, but mostly in gardens, flower beds and orchards.
When picking, it is necessary to put the harvested sunflowers in a basket or a paper bag (not in a plastic bag), as they remain fresh.
Great sunshine in the culinary arts
Big sunflowers are heat treated after picking and only then are they safe to prepare a delicious meal of them. Many eat them, they can also be baked, but cooking is not recommended as they will then fall apart. Of the whole mushroom, only a soft hat is eaten because the stem is too stiff and tough. In addition to the open and flat hats, young sunbaths with undissolved or semi-open hats can also be used for eating.
The taste of the mushroom is pleasant even before the meal is started, and the taste is said to resemble hazelnuts and almonds, which is why the young mushroom can be eaten raw.
Once harvested, they are first cleared of dust and possible soil in cold water, and it is a good idea to check among the lamellae of hymen for smaller inhabitants. When frying in a pan, the sunflower is chopped and a little olive oil or butter is added to it, with the addition of salt, pepper, parsley and garlic. On the other hand, when cooking, we prepare the whole hat and we can add parmesan to the finished dish. After preparation, mushroom dishes are best eaten immediately because by prolonged standing and overheating, some proteins in the mushroom can break down and make the edible mushroom toxic.
Author: B.P., Photo: Lenaekisson / Pixabay