Honey Mushrooms

Armillariella mellea and A. tabescens

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Meaty, earthy honey mushrooms flourish in abundance (in Europe and Asia, as well as the United States) in a perplexing range of colors, shapes, and sizes; but “for all practical purposes, the complex of nearly identical species makes for excellent eating,” says Gary Lincoff, an educator and author of the Audubon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms. Lincoff’s counterpart on the West Coast, David Arora, writes in Mushrooms Demystified that honey “is among the most variable and cosmopolitan of the fleshy fungi, and in its innumerable guises will confound you time and time again.” What honey mushrooms have in common is rewarding comestibility but extreme perishability and, as Lincoff stresses, a need to be “cooked through and through—not sautéed, not stir-fried—unless you want to risk gastrointestinal upset.”