Porcini is the Italian name for Boletus edulis, a wild mushroom that is fast gaining popularity in New Zealand particularly in the South Island where it grows well and rapidly. These mushrooms are known as Boletus mushrooms (which to be fair is not exclusive to that of Porcini)
Dried porcini mushrooms or powder is readily available at boutique food stores and online, and they are among the most commercialized wild mushrooms in the world. Porcini possess a nutty, earthy character that creates a complex and enchanting flavor profile.The Japanese describe this as unami, due to the English not comprising on a word to describe the taste effectively.
Porcini mushroom is one of the finest wild culinary mushrooms on the market, and is by far the most coveted found in the wild. They are high maintenance in the kitchen and require special preparation; due to their high moisture content, they need to be treated with dignity rather than impunity, otherwise you run the risk of eating porcini that are soggy, slimy, or even leathery. Needless to say will turn you off forever!
Instead of blade-like gills on the bottom of the cap/hood, Porcinimushrooms have a spongy layer of tissue that’s made up of a multitude of little tubes. In the case of porcini, they start out white and turn yellowish as the mushroom matures.
Most people choose to use dried or powdered Porcini due to the challenges with preparing, cooking or storing this expensive mushrooms.
Pharmacy and supermarket shelves are packed with a myriad of herbal remedies for common ailments, especially with winter on its way.
On closer inspection these products are mostly derived from non indigenous plants, which have a long history of medicinal use in Europe.
We need to embrace of NZ native plants.
For instance, Murdoch Riley’s book “Maori Healing and Herbal” has pages of medicinal information, reflecting the depth of Maori knowledge developed over centuries of observation and use.
These plant remedies are still widely used today, by both Maori and pakeha (non Maori) the ritual and spiritual aspects are still relevant in Maori communities.
But we don't use them??? I think knowing about their special properties enriches our experience of native plants, and provides another reason to keep biodiversity in Aotearoa.
Kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum, or pepper tree)
Kawakawa is an easily recognized shrub, with aromatic, heart-shaped leaves, that grows widely in coastal regions.
Kawakawa gives us a clue as to why the first arrivals here from Polynesia called it that. The leaves are like its relative, kava (Piper methysticum), used widely in the South Pacific, Kava has a narcotic effect.
Kawakawa leaves are highly valued for relieving bronchial complaints. Boil a handful of the fresh, young leaves in a small saucepan of water for 15-20 minutes, then drink half a cup of the liquid to relieve chesty coughs.
To make a distinguished tea, for use as a general tonic, it’s best to dry the leaves first, then use a small quantity in a teapot. It’s very good for relieving indigestion.
The fruits and leaves were chewed for toothache – swallow the saliva and keep the leaf matter in your mouth for some time. (The active ingredient is myristicin, which is related to eugenol, a dental analgesic)
Kawakawa leaves were commonly used in hot baths for rheumatic and arthritic pains.
Enter your email address below to join our mailing list and have our latest news and member-only deals delivered straight to your inbox.
All Good Stuff!
Rhayne products are all Free of Sugar, Gluten, GMO, Dairy, Peanuts and have zero added Colourings or Preservatives.