Tips and tricks

Dark mushroom (spruce, ground, dark brown): photo and description of how to cook

One of the most beloved mushrooms is honey mushrooms. Growing on stumps in large groups, they invariably attract the attention of mushroom pickers, not allowing them to leave with empty baskets. The people under this name mean a whole group of mushrooms, but few people know that different types of honey agarics belong to separate genera and families. So, spruce mushrooms are very similar in appearance to autumn mushrooms, but they are conditionally edible mushrooms.

Are there mushrooms of a dark color

According to the description and photo, dark mushrooms (or spruce, hard, ground, Latin Armillaria ostoyae) belong to the Fizalakriev family. They differ from other related representatives, as the name implies, in the dark brown color of the cap. The color of honey agarics largely depends on the place of growth, and spruce ones got their colors because they prefer mainly spruce and pine darkened forests. The characteristic shade of the wood on which the mycelium is located is transmitted to the fruit bodies, and the pine bitterness directly affects their taste.

What spruce mushrooms look like

The spruce look can be easily recognized by the dark cap and the cylindrical stem with a lumpy or scaly surface. The pulp is loose, white, with a yellowish tinge, practically has no mushroom smell. The photo shows young dark mushrooms growing in a spruce forest, where poisonous, dangerous to human health, doubles like to settle with them.

Spruce mushrooms are autumn species and begin bearing fruit in early August.

Description of the hat

Convex at a young age, completely covered with brown scales, the spruce mushroom cap grows from 4 to 10 cm in diameter. Its shape, hemispherical in young specimens, becomes more extended in old ones. The color of the cap is dark brown, and under it are light plates, which become covered with reddish, brown spots with age.

Leg description

Honey mushrooms with a dark cap have a cylindrical leg, somewhat thickened at the base, with a height of 5 to 10 cm and a diameter of up to 2 cm and a ring resembling lace frills in appearance. The surface of the fruiting body is dry, slightly rough.

Where and how do dark brown mushrooms grow

Spruce mushrooms grow throughout the country, except for the northern regions, in deciduous, mixed, more often coniferous forests. This species prefers to settle on stumps and rotting tree species, on deadwood and conifers. Under deciduous trees and shrubs, the variety is quite rare. Spruce mushrooms bear fruit from the end of July to the end of October, depending on the specific climatic zone. They are located in small families. This type of mushroom is called spruce because its favorite place of growth is the rotting remains of conifers, rotten stumps, dead tree trunks.

Is it possible to collect dark mushrooms

Dark, spruce mushrooms can be harvested from about August and almost until the onset of cold weather, that is, until the end of October - early November. At the same time, overripe, old, with a cracked cap are not cut off. On one large stump or a felled tree trunk, you can collect a whole basket of fragrant mushrooms.

Edible spruce mushrooms or not

Dark representatives of hawthorn fungi are conditionally edible, as they have a bitter, specific taste. Before cooking, the fruiting bodies need a preliminary, preferably two-fold, boiling. The broth after processing the fruit bodies is not used for food.

How to cook spruce mushrooms

Before preparing culinary dishes, spruce mushrooms are cleaned, all debris is removed, and the top layer is peeled off. Only hats are used for food, since the legs during cooking become rubbery, rigid in structure. Previously, the fruit bodies are boiled in salted water for 20 minutes, discarded in a colander, the broth is drained. The procedure is repeated once more, which allows you to completely eliminate unpleasant bitterness and natural resins. Further, a variety of dishes are prepared from the processed mushrooms.

How to fry spruce mushrooms in sour cream with onions

Boiled dark mushrooms are placed in a hot pan with vegetable oil and fried under a closed lid. After 15 minutes. add onion rings, add salt and pepper the dish. Sour cream is placed before the end of frying for 3 minutes, while the heat is reduced. Add a little butter. Sprinkle ready-made mushrooms with onions and finely chopped dill.

Important! The spruce representatives of the hawthorn ones contain in their composition a minimum amount of water, therefore they are excellent for frying.

How to pickle dark autumn mushrooms


  • mushrooms - 1kg;
  • salt - 2 tbsp. l .;
  • sugar - 1 tbsp. l .;
  • vinegar (9%) - 2 tbsp. l .;
  • 2 - 3 cloves, peeled garlic cloves, peppercorns.

Cooking algorithm:

  1. In a saucepan, marinade is boiled from water, salt, sugar.
  2. After boiling, vinegar is poured, pepper and cloves are added, pre-prepared and boiled fruit bodies are added.
  3. Cook over medium heat for 10 - 15 minutes and put in sterilized jars.
  4. Put the cloves of garlic, add the marinade almost to the neck and pour in 1 tbsp. l. vegetable oil on top into each jar.
  5. Close with plastic lids, cool and store in the refrigerator.

Freezing dark brown honey agarics for the winter

Prepared dark spruce mushrooms Armillaria solidipes are placed in plastic containers or plastic bags and sent to the freezer. There is no need to put a large amount of mushrooms in a bag or container: the volume should be such that it is enough to cook them at a time.

Salting of autumn spruce mushrooms for the winter


  • 1 kg of mushrooms;
  • 1/2 tbsp. salt;
  • 5 - 7 cloves of garlic;
  • peppercorns and dill umbrellas.

Cooking algorithm:

  1. A layer of salt is poured onto the bottom of the enamel pan, then ground mushrooms are placed.
  2. Layers alternate, sprinkle with garlic, dill and peppercorns.
  3. Cover the pan with gauze, folded in two layers, set a plate and put oppression on.
  4. The salting process lasts about 20 days, after which the mushroom mass is transferred to clean jars and stored in a dark, cool place.

Important! During salting, the gauze should be periodically rinsed or replaced with a new one to prevent mold growth.

How to dry spruce mushrooms

After cleaning and removing forest debris, spruce mushrooms can be dried, which will maximize the preservation of all nutrients. Fruit bodies are strung on a thin thread and suspended in a sunny, well-ventilated place. Dry for 40 days. Ready mushrooms become elastic, do not break when bent. Overdried mushrooms are fragile, crumble. From them, you can easily prepare mushroom powder, which is then conveniently used as a natural seasoning.

Important! During drying, it is better to cover the threads with fruit bodies with gauze, which will not allow insects and dust to deteriorate the quality of the finished product.

The healing properties of dark brown mushrooms

Honey mushrooms of brown, dark color are the champions in protein content and, although they contain a small amount of calories, they are able to replace meat. This is especially true for people on a dietary or vegetarian diet. The product contains a large amount of trace elements and vitamins, amino acids and natural sugar.

Due to its unique composition, spruce mushrooms are widely used in medicine as a treatment for:

  • malignant and benign tumors;
  • Escherichia coli and staphylococcus;
  • diseases of the thyroid gland.

Regular consumption of mushroom dishes can delay the development of many pathologies. Mushroom pulp contains lecithin, which does not allow to disperse the accumulation of "bad" cholesterol on the walls of blood vessels. This is the best prevention of atherosclerosis. The low glycemic index of the product makes it possible to include mushroom dishes in the diet of patients with diabetes mellitus.

Growing spruce mushrooms on the site or in the country

Thanks to modern science, today you can grow any mushrooms on your own plot. To do this, you will need to purchase mycelium in a specialized store and be patient.

Algorithm of actions:

  1. They choose a suitable tree with signs of decay at their summer cottage, which will not be a pity: the mushrooms will destroy it in the process of growth.
  2. The mycelium is moistened with water and covered with moss to prevent moisture evaporation.
  3. After 12 months, the first harvest will appear, after the mycelium will actively bear fruit for 6 - 7 years.

Important! Planting mycelium is best in a shady, damp place, out of direct sunlight.

Doubles and their differences

Dark honey fungus has edible and inedible counterparts among mushrooms of the genus Openkov. During collection, it is necessary to distinguish doubles that bear fruit during this period of the year:

  1. Autumn honey agaric, which grows on various woody substrates, has a smooth surface of a honey-yellow cap and a yellow, without fringe, skirt on a leg. The mushroom is edible, but the technology for preparing the autumn and dark varieties is different, since conditionally edible mushrooms require more complex heat treatment.
  2. A swollen, Gaulish (or thick-legged) honey agaric has a light brown cap and dark scales over its entire surface at a young age, which disappear as they mature. A mushroom with a thin ring that breaks and disappears as it matures. When broken, the pulp exudes a pleasant, cheesy aroma. The species is conditionally edible.
  3. False mushroom and its varieties. They do not have a skirt on a leg characteristic of edible representatives and scales on the surface of the caps. Unlike edible spruce mushrooms, they have a pronounced bitter taste: they are classified as conditionally edible or inedible, depending on the specific species. Inedible false representatives have a pungent, unpleasant odor and a smooth, interspersed leg, as can be clearly seen in the photo. The cap of the fruiting body is unevenly colored.

A video about comparing edible mushrooms with false doubles will be useful for every novice mushroom picker

Interesting facts about spruce mushrooms

A honey agaric with a dark brown, scaly cap is capable of capturing vast territories covered with damp deadwood and the remnants of rotting wood. What is located on the surface of the earth is only a small part of the mycelium, and the mycelium is located underground at a great distance. So, in the Swiss forests, myceliums are often found, the area of ​​which is more than 30 hectares.

The largest and oldest mushroom in the world is the dark honey fungus, which grows in the United States, Oregon. The area of ​​the mycelium of this ail is about 850 hectares, and the age is more than 2.5 thousand years. A single giant organism, located under the surface of the earth, is a parasite and feeds on the roots of trees, which leads to their death. Therefore, it is called the Oregon monster.

Large harvests of mushrooms are rare: fruiting bodies appear once every 3-4 years.


Spruce mushrooms are outwardly similar to some related species that bear fruit in autumn, but upon close examination it is not difficult to distinguish them. Despite belonging to conditionally edible mushrooms, their popularity has not fallen for many years, and their taste is highly valued.

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