FoodDelicious milkcap: The underrated gem of the mushroom world

Delicious milkcap: The underrated gem of the mushroom world

It's better not to avoid this mushroom in the forest.
It's better not to avoid this mushroom in the forest.
Images source: © Adobe Stock

8 July 2024 16:42

I admit that I have never collected these mushrooms. However, that was a mistake, and I will pay close attention to them this year. They have an extraordinary smell and milk inside. It’s worth trying because the taste is unique. The delicious milkcap mushroom can even be sampled raw.

The delicious milkcap is the red, raw cap, milkcap, or cow mushroom. It belongs to the Russulaceae family.


This mushroom is hard to confuse with other inedible or poisonous species. This is due to its characteristic smell, which some associate with the scent of fish, especially herring. Its cap is about 15 centimetres, and the colour is light brown or nutty, similar to the thick stem. Older mushrooms have an orange-red or chestnut-brown colour. The gills under the cap of the milkcap are densely arranged. The flesh of the milkcap is dense and firm.

Beware of the milk

The delicious milkcap can be found in deciduous and coniferous forests from June to October. It most commonly grows under beeches, oaks, hornbeams, aspens, spruces, and pines. The milkcap should be collected carefully and gently placed in a basket to avoid damage, as the leaking milk can splash onto other mushrooms. It is not a popular edible mushroom species. Like others, it contains a lot of plant protein and carbohydrates.

Do not fear the smell

Does the fishy smell of the milkcap put you off? It disappears during cooking, and the mushroom can become a delicacy. Like other species, it can be fried, stewed, boiled, and pickled. It is also one of the few mushrooms that can be eaten raw, sprinkled with salt. Before frying, it’s worth peeling the caps because they become tough when cooked.

See also