Dried Porcini Mushrooms
First Extra Quality
A recent study found that mushrooms contain remarkably high amounts of two antioxidants: ergothioneine and glutathonine which are known to help fight signs of aging and boost your health. The mushrooms which were discovered to have the higher levels of these antioxidants were porcini mushrooms (that can be dried up to last a long time). Mushrooms are also a great source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, vitamin B, potassium, chloride, copper and selenium- all nutrients which are likely to be lacking in your diet.
In the vast culinary world of edible mushrooms the porcini (piglet) mushroom is the king. The Boletus edulis, or Cep is the ruling class of the delicious funghi. The soft meaty texture of porcini with its earthy and somewhat nutty flavour is unequalled among mushrooms and lends itself to countless dishes.
Porcini mushrooms may grow a rather large cap, up to 12 inches in diameter. It's usually brown or reddish-brown with a slightly sticky texture the stalk is usually short and round.
Our Porcini are classified as 'First Extra Quality' and come from the uncontaminated Sila National Park in Calabria. They are hand picked between August and October and are then dried naturally in the sun. Just open the bag and marvel at the amazingly strong, heady aroma - this is the first sign of their quality. Then take a look at the large, whole pieces, not broken or flaky. They are full of flesh and destined to double their size in water.
Dried porcini are a great substitute to fresh as they have an amazingly strong and concentrated mushroom aroma adding flavour and depth to so many dishes. They are fabulous in soups, stews, sauces and pies and of course perfect for risotto ai funghi porcini and many other risottos. They are delicious lying on top of a thick succulent fillet of steak or chicken and very much at home in all kinds of pasta dishes. They are also full of protein and make a great meat substitute in vegetarian dishes.
How to prepare dried porcini mushrooms...
To prepare dried porcini soak them in just warm water to cover for 20 minutes or until they've expanded. Drain them and conserve the liquid. They're now ready for use in the recipe; if the recipe calls for liquid as well, filter the water they were soaked in and add it too -- you'll get lots more concentrated flavour. Sautée in olive oil, fry them in butter or add to a casserole for that inimitable nutty, woody taste.
Porcini mushrooms (Boletus Edulis)
Artigiana Funghi Belmonte
The Belmonte Mushroom Company was founded in 1935 when the current owner's great-grandparents and grandparents gathered mushrooms and traded them in neighbouring villages for salt, oil and chillies.
In 1952, at the age of 15, their father, who became an expert mushroom picker, dried porcini mushrooms by spreading them on linen blankets and drying them under the Calabrian sun for a day. He then tried to preserve various types of mushrooms in water and salt, obtaining excellent results. From here began a cycle of processing and transformation of several products from the fertile soil of the Sila National Park. All this took place with rudimentary equipment.
Slowly he managed to equip the company with good machinery and in 1988 passed it to his children. Today their flagship products are mushrooms, dried tomatoes and chilli. They also work aubergines, artichokes, olives, oregano and berries.