Today we are going to talk about the wild mushroom, one of the most demanded and known throughout the world. Its scientific name is Agaricus campestris and it is known by other names such as meadow mushroom, field mushroom, brackish, camperol, guisana and little bustard. It is a saprophytic fungus that can be eaten when it is young and its sheets are still pink. It is not at all convenient to consume them when their sheets are dark. It is a fungus belonging to the Basidiomycetes group.
In this article we are going to tell you what are the characteristics of the Agaricus campestris and how useful it is.
It is a mushroom that has a hat that measures between 4 and 10 centimeters in diameter. It is shaped like a convex hemisphere and, as it develops, it flattens out. Its cuticle is white and silky texture. It is easy to separate it since it has several concentric scales that can be recognized by its ocher color. The margin is ornate and present these veiled. Its foot is quite thick, short and cylindrical in shape. It is usually 3 to 7 centimeters long and 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter. The base has a white coloration and can be easily detached from the hat.
It has a hymenium with many lamellae that are free and tight. These lamellae are bright pink in color and change to dark brown as they develop.. As for the meat of the wild mushroom, we can say that it is compact and firm. It is white in color and with exposure to air it turns reddish in a slight way. Its taste is sweet and has a pleasant smell. We can assimilate this smell to that of prunes.
We can find Agaricus campestris frequently during the spring and autumn seasons, most commonly after some more abundant rains. Normally, they are found in open places, such as in meadows, pastures, uncultivated fields that are fertilized with manure or that are frequently visited by cows and horses. It is a nitrophilic speciesthat is to say, it needs large amounts of nitrogen to be able to develop. Therefore, it is common to find it in nearby agricultural areas where nitrogen fertilizers are used.
Utility of Agaricus campestris
Being a mushroom well known for being an excellent edible, some claim that it is the best tasting mushroom. It does not have to be the best mushroom for the kitchen but It is widely used for its texture and flavor. It is one of the best known and most used wild species in the culinary world. It was used to make numerous dishes made in different ways. We can find it with simpler companions such as eggs, eat them raw in salads or with different garnishes in stir-fries or stews.
For all those people who are vegetarians, wild mushrooms can be a great option for both its vitamin and mineral content as well as its protein content. One of the most relevant aspects of this mushroom is that thanks to this species you can obtain different varieties that are currently used in the kitchen.
We can find it in an abundant way in the meadows, in gardens and in lawns that are fertilized with nitrogen fertilizers. Its edibility is quite good. To take advantage of all its flavor, it is advisable not to collect the specimens when they are already ripe with black or darkened sheets. In the case in which we collect the fungus with these characteristics, the sheets will have to be removed before cooking. This is done to avoid reducing the quality of the food and avoid possible digestive problems.
Properties of the Agaricus campestris
We are going to talk about the properties that this mushroom has to stand out so much or among the culinary world. One of its characteristics for which it stands out is for being light. 90% of its weight is water. The rest, in few proportions, is filled with carbohydrates and fats. They are rich in vitamins and minerals. Thanks to these properties they can be included in almost any type of diet. They are a great option for people with obesity since they have satiating capacity, but a low caloric intake. In this way, we can consume large amounts of this mushroom without adding too many calories to our diet.
Another property is that it is high in selenium, has antioxidant properties and also has large amounts of potassium. This serves to help reduce fluid retention, especially in overweight people. They are rich in phosphorus so they help maintain teeth and bones in good health and the proper functioning of the mind. Among the vitamins that in greater proportion are found we have B2 and B3.
How to recognize wild mushrooms
Surely, if you are going to collect mushrooms you can make a mistake when choosing one or another species. If you are a beginner, you can confuse the Agaricus campestris with white amanitas. These white amanitas can be identified with relative ease by looking at their plates and they return with a white color. Before venturing to collect wild mushrooms, it is appropriate to study all the morphology of both this species and the white amanitas. This importance lies in the fact that there may be dangerous intoxication in the case of confusion.
Wild mushrooms do not turn yellow or smell like anise. These characteristics can help you differentiate it from other species such as the Agaricus arvensis.Another species with which it is also often confused is Agaricus bitorchis. This fungus has two very similar rings. There are also other species that turn red when you cut them or have contact with the air. For all this, It is advisable to study the morphology of both the wild mushroom and the species similar to it.
The danger of confusing the wild mushroom with another similar species lies in the possible poisoning. We can easily confuse it with the Agaricus xanthodermus. It is a fungus that differs from the wild mushroom because it turns yellow when you brush its surface. Especially at the base of the foot is when you experience this yellowing. It has the smell of ink, which we cannot see in the wild mushroom.
I hope that with this information you can know more about the Agaricus campestris.