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Cinnamon Cap Mushrooms
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Cinnamon Cap mushrooms grow in tight clusters on tall, slender stems. They have striking golden-orange caps that are sometimes topped with white flakes, and mature to a brick red color. The caps measure anywhere from 3 to 10 centimeters in diameter, depending on when they are harvested. The gills of Cinnamon Cap mushrooms are cream in color when the mushrooms are young, turning a purple-grey then brown as the mushroom ripens. Cinnamon Cap mushroom do not have a distinctive odor, and they offer a mild, earthy, nutty taste, which may become bitter as they mature. Cinnamon Cap mushrooms retain their firm, crisp texture when cooked.
Cinnamon Cap mushrooms are available in the fall months.
Cinnamon Cap mushrooms are botanically known as Hypholoma sublateritium, or Hypholoma lateritium. They are also referred to as Brick Cap mushrooms because of the cap color at full maturity. Some sources in Britain claim that Cinnamon Cap mushrooms are inedible, while others, primarily in North America, disagree. This variety is often confused with the inedible sulphur tufts mushroom, which may explain controversy over the Cinnamon Cap mushroom’s own edibility. Cinnamon Cap mushrooms are widely consumed in both the United States and Japan, where they are known as Kuritake.
Cinnamon Cap mushrooms are rich in vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, and minerals including calcium, potassium and sodium. They contain a compound called clavaric acid, which has been studied for its potential to slow the growth of cancer.
Cinnamon Cap mushrooms MUST BE COOKED, and can be used whole, stems included. To use Cinnamon Cap mushrooms, clean them with a damp paper towel or a soft brush, and chop away the root of the cluster. Younger Cinnamon Cap mushrooms are often preferred as older mushrooms may have a bitter taste. They are great in risottos, stir-fries, soups, and scrambles. Cinnamon Cap mushrooms pair well with grilled meats and seafood, garlic, sweet peppers, chives, and creamy cheeses like ricotta. Store Cinnamon Cap mushrooms in an open paper bag in the refrigerator, where they will last up to a week.
Cinnamon Cap mushrooms are a favorite of mushroom foragers in the Midwest region of the United States, and are considered a delicacy. The name Cinnamon Cap was given by American growers of the mushroom. It should not be confused with the similar-looking Japanese nameko mushroom, which has also been referred to as Cinnamon Cap mushroom.
Although the exact origin of Cinnamon Cap mushrooms is unknown, they were first described in 1762 by a German mycologist. Today they can be found growing wild in the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan and Korea. Cinnamon Cap mushrooms flourish in temperate regions, and grow on dead stumps and logs.