What You Should Know
Imleria badia (syn. Boletus badius; Xerocomus badius) is an edible, pored mushroom found in Europe and North America, where it grows in coniferous or mixed woods on the ground or decaying tree stumps, sometimes in prolific numbers. On the cap underside are small yellowish pores that turn dull blue-gray when bruised. The smooth, cylindrical stipe is colored like the cap, but paler. Some varieties have been described from eastern North America, differing from the main type in both macroscopic and microscopic morphology.
The Bay Bolete is a great mushroom and not far from the Penny Bun in gastronomic value. So much so, we could not differentiate between the two in a blind taste test, with only the less firm texture of the Bay Bolete giving it away.
Other names: Bay Bolete, Brown Bolete, Daphne Mushroom, Bulbous Mushroom.
Imleria badia Mushroom Identification
Mycorrhizal with conifers (especially pines and eastern hemlock), and sometimes reported under beech (especially in Europe) and birch; growing alone, scattered, or gregariously, often from or in the vicinity of well-decayed, mossy stumps; summer and fall; widely distributed in northeastern North America, the upper Midwest, and the Appalachians; also found in Mexico and Europe.
3–9 cm; convex, becoming broadly convex; sticky when fresh, but soon dry; bald, with a kid-leathery feel; brown to pinkish brown or reddish-brown; margin with a tiny (1–2 mm) overhanging sterile portion.
Pale dull yellow, becoming yellow and eventually dirty yellowish-brown; bruising grayish blue; 2–3 pores per mm at maturity; tubes to 1 cm deep, olive at maturity, xerocomoid.
5–18 cm long; 1.5–4 cm thick; enlarged at the base; usually somewhat wrinkled, shallowly and longitudinally; bald; not reticulate; pale yellowish to pale brownish near the apex; brown to reddish-brown below; basal mycelium white.
White overall, but sometimes pale yellow just above the tubes; unchanging when sliced, or slowly bluish pink under the cap cuticle.
Odor and Taste
Odor not distinctive; taste slightly soapy.
Imleria badia Look-Alikes
Could be confused with any of the Bitter Bolete (Tylopilus felleus), which is not poisonous but has a very nasty taste.
The Bronze Bolete (Boletus reticulatus) are very similar. However, all three are good edibles, but all have reticulation (net-like pattern) on the stem and none have pores or flesh that bruise blue.
Imleria badia Taxonomy and Etymology
The great Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries described and named this mushroom in 1821, giving it the name Boletus badius. In 2014 Italian mycologist Alfredo Vizzini erected the new genus Imleria for this species, based on the uniqueness of some of its morphological features and DNA analysis reported in 2013.
Synonyms of Imleria badia include Boletus badius (Fr.) Fr., Boletus castaneus ß badius Fr. , Ixocomus badius (Fr.) Quél., and Xerocomus badius (Fr. ) E.-J. Gilbert.
The generic name Imleria honors the Belgian mycologist Louis Imler (1900 - 1993); the older genus name Boletus comes from the Greek bolos, meaning lump of clay, while the specific epithet badia means reddish brown (bay brown!).
Imleria badia Cooking Notes
One large Bay Bolete makes a splendid meal for two, because these mushrooms are usually big and chunky.
In any recipe that calls for Ceps, Porcini, King Boletes, or Penny Bun Boletes (all common names for Boletus edulis) it is perfectly okay to substitute Bay Boletes.
Bay Boletes dry very easily for storage if they are first to cut into thin vertical slices; alternatively, they can be sliced or chopped into pieces, cooked, and then frozen for later use.
Imleria badia Uses
In central Mexico, it is collected from Izta-Popo Zoquiapan National Park and sold in neighboring markets. It may cause an allergic reaction in some people, and the blue discoloration upon bruising can be offputting, although the staining disappears from white flesh when it is cooked. The flavor is milder than its better-known relative.
Younger specimens are best for eating, though more mature ones can be suitable for cutting up and drying. The tendency for the pores to absorb water means that wiping rather than washing is recommended before use in the kitchen. Unlike most boletes, I. badia can be eaten raw (though only young mushrooms should be used). Otherwise, it can be fried in butter, or used with meat or fish recipes. Mushrooms can also be frozen, dried, or pickled in cider vinegar, wine, or extra virgin olive oil, and later used in sauces or soups.
The fruit bodies can be used to make mushroom dyes. Depending on the mordant used, colors ranging from yellow, orange, gold, and green-brown can be obtained. Without mordant, a yellow color is produced.
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