The Flammulina Velutipes mushroom is also called Enoki mushroom. It is also known as Agaricus velutipes, Collybia velutipes and Agaricus velutipes and as the elm mushroom in Italy.
Cap of Flammulina Velutipes
The cap of the Flammulina Velutipes measures from 3 to 7 cm in diameter and is oval in shape at the beginning of its growth. Once the fungus has reached the final stage of its growth, the cap becomes convex and then almost flat. The colour of the cap varies from orange-yellow to more or less dark and intense yellow.
The gills of the Flammulina Velutipes are distant and interspersed with lamellas. Their colour is yellowish white.
The stipe measures from 3 to 10 cm in height up to half a centimetre in diameter and the shape is cylindrical.
Regarding the colour of the stem it is also yellowish to reddish at the top. The stem is slender and at the base extends into a filament that looks like a root but which is actually a filament of the mycelium.
The flesh of the Enoki mushroom is tender in the hat but too fibrous in the stem. For this reason the stipe is not used in gastronomy. The smell of Flammulina Velutipes is not particular but the meat of Agarico Vellutato, which is yellowish in colour, has a pleasant sweet taste.
Habitat and diffusion of Flammulina Velutipes
The Enoki Mushroom grows abundantly in tufts from the end of autumn until late winter. It grows on trunks, being a saprophyte fungus but also a parasite (of broad-leaved trees). Usually the trunks are alive and are in particular trunks of elm, willow, plane tree, etc..
The Flammulina Velutipes is a mushroom that can withstand cold temperatures and is widespread throughout the European continent. It prefers flat areas and is also easily found within gardens and city parks.
The Enoki (or Enokitake)is a species that should not be confused with other similar but toxic species. For example, with the toxic fascicular hypholoma, which also grows on old tree trunks. The stipe of the latter toxic fungus is completely different from that of flammulina velutipes.
Another mushroom named Hypholoma sublateritium is also a possible toxic candidate that can be confused with flammulina velutipes.
Cultivation of Flammulina Velutipes
The Elm mushroom, or Flammulina Velutipes, is easily cultivable like all species of saprophytic mushrooms. If you can recover mycelia from the fungus you can proceed with the cultivation at home using the same technique as the Pleurotus ostreatus.
Gastronomy and Recipes with Enoki Mushroom
The collybia velutipes is a mushroom sought after for gastronomic use. It is suitable for soups, meats and sauces. Since it is also found when other different mushrooms are disappearing, even in the presence of snow, it has become particularly convenient to find and use.
The Flammulina Velutipes is edible but you only use the cap because the stipe is too fibrous. In any case, before being consumed, it must be cleaned and an abundant pre-boiling must be carried out in order to eliminate all the thermolabile toxic substances which are however contained in small quantities inside the flesh of this fungus.
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