Mushrooms are not a true vegetable in the sense that it does not have any leaves, roots, or seeds, and really does not need any light to grow.  It is a fungus, which grows in the dark and creates more mushrooms by releasing spores.  Mushrooms are found all over the world and have been a very honored food in many cultures.

Porcini mushrooms are well valued for their meaty texture, interesting flavour, and distinguishing shape.  This variety is usually expensive, but is considered as one of the finest-tasting mushrooms.  Known as the king of wild mushrooms, the Porcini (Boletus edulis), or cep mushroom is widely hunted and harvested throughout South Africa, Europe, North America, Australia, China and Mexico.  Due to the fact that Porcini mushrooms have not yet been successfully cultivated, fresh porcinis are rarely found in grocery stores.


Porcini mushrooms have a long, firm, fleshy white stalk.  The cap is brown, fleshy, round, and convex, and can be smooth or velvety.  The underside of the cap differentiates the Porcini from most other mushrooms, as it is covered with vertical tube-like pores instead of gills.  They have a rich, woody aroma.


When purchasing fresh Porcinis, select mushrooms with firm stems and a rich, woody aroma.  If the stem is mushy or feels hollow, it is infested with insects.  You should look for firm, moisture free (not dry), unblemished caps, and free of mold.  If the mushroom lacks fragrance, it is probably old and will not have much flavour.  Fresh Porcinis spoil quickly and should be eaten within a few days of collection or purchase.  Keep them in a paper bag or wrapped in a cloth.

It is best to buy mushrooms from a reputable grower or grocer instead of hunting them yourself, as there are many poisonous mushrooms. Incorrectly identifying them can lead to symptoms of sweating, cramps, diarrhea, confusion, convulsions, and potentially result in liver damage, or even death.