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General notions on coconut

Coconut is one of the most popular mushrooms in our country and beyond. It was already used for gastronomic uses in ancient Rome and even then it was much sought after. Its scientific name is amanita caesarea and belongs to a family that also contains lethal varieties such as amanita phalloides. Coconut is not very common in Italy and currently finding one means having a good dose of luck. It has a delicate flavor that lends itself to the flavor of refined dishes. It is not advisable to venture in search of these mushrooms if they do not know each other well because there are many species that resemble them but have a high degree of toxicity. in any case it is better to avoid picking mushrooms if you are not sure of the experts.

Coconut main features

Coconut grows spontaneously in broad-leaved woods but in some areas it can also be found in the presence of strawberry trees or heathers while in others it is born under coniferous trees. Its presence over the years has increasingly diminished and it is currently difficult to find specimens in European forests. It grows in warm areas and finds an ideal habitat in calcareous soils. The complete development of these fungi occurs between the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. It is a classic umbrella mushroom and its diameter can range from six to twenty centimeters. The surface of the hat has an orange-red color and is glossy. When the fungus is still immature it is all contained within a volva called egg created from the spores from which the coconut originates.

How to use it

Coconut is an edible mushroom that is suitable for the realization of numerous preparations. It has a rather delicate and pleasant taste with a sweetish aftertaste particularly pleasant to the palate. The coconut is cleaned and cut into thin slices to be served raw in salads or cut into cubes and seasoned only with extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. The coconut can also be preserved using the pickle technique or after having dried it in an area sheltered from the sun's rays but well ventilated. However, part of its flavor is lost after drying and it would be preferable to eat it fresh to fully enjoy all its organoleptic characteristics. When it starts to deteriorate, the coconut smells like rotten eggs.

Cocco: Useful warnings

Coconut is similar in appearance to other fungi well known for their toxicity, such as amanita muscaria. Even if accidental ingestion of non-edible mushrooms can cause serious complications and even, in some cases, lead to death. To avoid any problems it is better to know the coconut well and never pick it up before it leaves its egg. In fact the envelope that contains it can be easily confused with other less edible eggs. The cocci have a very intense yellow color, while the poisonous varieties have a more evanescent and less evident shade of green or yellow. Moreover in the poisonous species the volva is much more distant from the stem even if they have an identical coloring.