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Food

Seasonal Eats: 5 Ways to Make the Most of Fresh Porcini

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Many planted crops are coming into season as we head into summer, but one wild item that coincides with June is the porcini mushroom, also known as Boletes or ceps. Though they are not commonly found in climates south of Santa Barbara, our fearless mushroom hunting suppliers will gladly drive them down to market (since they command a dear price).

While many common mushrooms can be farmed because they reliably flourish in controlled environments, others bloom in conditions that depend on a few factors coming together in the wild. The Bolete genus forms a symbiotic relationship with forest tree root systems, so they are foraged when fresh and dried for use year-round. The woody-flavor of porcini you may have come to know is a characteristic of the dried fungi, but the fresh mushrooms are light and delicious with a creamy, nutty flavor—certainly something to try while they're available.

Porcini are low in fat and carbohydrates. They're high in protein, vitamins (with the ability to increase in vitamin D with sunlight exposure), minerals and dietary fiber. They also contain antioxidants, antiviral compounds, and have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activity. This not only makes them an ideal nutritional source for vegetarians and vegans, but a greatly beneficial addition to any diet.

Here are the best ways to make the most of fresh porcini: