Agaricus albolutescens is delicious
When hunting morels in the spring, we often find a very delectable Agaricus that fruits at the start of the morel season. The variation of Agaricus albolutescens that grows in these parts has a relatively short stalk with a cap that just barely clears the duff when it matures. Fortunately, the bright white cap with amber-yellow stains is distinctive against the dark ground. This delectable mushroom is worth learning because many people do not pick it for fear of confusing it with the spring Amanita, Amanita aprica, which also has a yellow cap, but with white veil patches attached to a yellow background. True, they both have free gills, but Agaricus albolutescens’ gills are pinkish gray changing to chocolate brown in maturity. Amanita aprica’s gills are always white. Study the pictures in the book and you will have little trouble telling them apart in the field.
Some people have trouble eating Agaricus (just like morels) so only try a bit when you first sample them. The nauseating Agaricus from David Arora’s “Lose Your Lunch Bunch” have strong phenol odors (library paste, chemical smell), especially when cooked. Since you never eat mushrooms raw, this odor will become obvious during preparation.
Another great feature of this mushroom is that the bugs don’t seem to bother it for quite a while, allowing the gills to mature to a chocolate brown and a rich mushroomy flavor. We found enough last spring to slice and dry, recently using them in an amazing soup.
Be sure of identification, of course, but Agaricus is one genus that pays you back with great eating if you take the time to study it.
We find this during our hunts for morels in the spring. It is squat and firm and has no sign of volva remnants at the base of the stem.