In Russia, where mushroom picking, cooking and eating is a big part of the culture, tourists may find themselves being offered saffron milk cap tasting as an activity. In Siberia, saffron milk caps are used for treating a wide variety of conditions, such as asthma, jaundice and food poisoning. However, these benefits have not been scientifically proven. Milk caps grow in pine forests in Europe and North America and are picked between August and October.
Their name comes from their beautiful saffron colour and the orange milky liquid they ooze from their gills when cut. They are a good source of fibre with a nutty, woody taste that has hints of umami and a meaty texture. They can be fried in olive oil with garlic, parsley, cream or red wine. They can also be marinated, salted or pickled, or added to stews and soups. They feature in risottos and pasta dishes served in various restaurants across Europe and North America.