Mushroom Of The Week: Milky Caps


(lactarius family)

“Milky Caps” are surprising mushrooms because they give off a milky liquid once their gills are cut.  

One wonders how so much liquid can come out of such a small, innocent looking little mushroom.  The 'Milky Caps' are in a family called 'Lactarius' whose Latin name itself refers to the milky substance they exude.  Most Milky Caps are edible as long as their milk is white colored and they are not bitter.  Currently, Lactifluus hygrophoroides is fruiting in our area in abundance as well as its equally delicious cousins Lactifluus volemus and Lactifluus corrugis. Volemus has huge amounts of latex, hence the name referring to large volumes of latex.  Corrugis refers to the corrugated texture on its cap surface, bumpy lines like corduroy pants have. For those of you more familiar with mushroom names, the genus name Lactarius has recently changed to Lactifluus. 

A great way to cook these up, once you are certain of their identification, is to mix a good olive oil in a bowl with some minced garlic.  Toss the mushroom caps in it well.  Spread on a baking sheet and cover generously with salt and minced thyme.  Mushrooms love salt. Roast at 425 for 25-30 minutes until very well cooked and even a bit crispy.  You'll eat these up like potato chips once they're done.

P.S. You can use the same recipe for Hen of the Woods in the fall, but try adding some soy sauce to the olive oil. Enjoy the forest!


lactarius vinaceorufescens, milk-cap, lactarius, edible fungi, mushrooms