The first time I found a Lactarius indigo (known in normal boring language as the Indigo milk cap) I said to myself, “is this incredible blue mushroom edible? Could something this beautiful and bright actually be non-poisonous???”
I’m pretty sure I’d seen the Indigo milk cap before in a guide book and I figured, well, whether it’s edible or not… I sure feel cool about finding something so beautiful.
Fortunately, when I double-checked it at home, I discovered it was indeed edible.
Since then, I’ve found Lactarius indigo mushrooms two more times, always in the same semi-wooded field where I found the first one a year ago.
This most recent time I had my camera with me – check it out:
Lactarius indigo isn’t a bad-tasting mushroom. The flavor is similar to a portobello but the texture is grainier. It tends to be more crumbly than rubbery. I like it.
The coolest thing is just that it’s beautiful.
I also carry a basket for any edible mushrooms I find, along with a walking stick I use to push aside tall grass and weeds.
The knife is used to trim the “roots” off the base of the mushroom before it goes in the basket. That keeps dirt from falling into the gills. Once a mushroom has dirt in its gills, it’s really hard to get it out again. Bringing home some great wild edible mushrooms that you’re excited about, only to find them gritty upon cooking… well, let’s just say it dampens the spirit a bit.
Identifying Lactarius Indigo
Lactarius indigo is a blue or blue-gray mushroom that bleeds blue when damaged.
It grows in connection with the roots of a wide range of tree species, meaning that it’s very unlikely you’ll ever find one growing alone in a field. It’s common name is the “indigo milk cap” and it’s quite edible (though I must put a disclaimer here: Don’t eat any wild mushrooms without first checking with a local expert) with a good flavor.
For more on identifying Lactarius indigo and other wild edible mushrooms, pick up at least one or two of the books on my list of great books for mushroom foragers.