Sticky Suillus – Slippery Jack

It’s always good to venture further afield when hunting for new mushrooms, especially when you get a break or are on a holiday. I had the chance to escape way down south to Poole in Dorset at a holiday park set within mixed woodland which was brilliantly rich in fungi…

Suillus luteusIt was here I discovered Slippery Jack (Suillus luteus) and I don’t see many of them at all around the midlands. It is such gooey splendour to behold when you first find one. I’m guessing some people might dislike the slippery surface, but I just loved it, especially when it’s a key identification feature too.

Found exclusively in conifer woodland, especially with Scots pine you will be pretty sure what you have stumbled across. It is a medium to large mushroom and closely related to boletes, featuring pores instead of gills, but feature glutinous caps (to some degree or another) many of which have rings on the stem and grow along side conifers.

There were only a few I found with (I think) Larch Boletes which are very similar but lighter in colour, growing with larch – naturally. I didn’t check all trees around which I’m kicking myself about! But that’s a post for another time.

The chestnut/sepia brown sticky cap is unmistakeable. Slide your finger across, hold it for a second, then slowly pull your finger away. Nice brown glutin goo will want to come along with you. Great stuff. The small round yellow – straw yellow pores can become flushed a deeper brown colour.

And, as mentioned before, with most Suillus species, there is a ring on the stem. Depending on what age you find your Slippery Jack it can differ somewhat. Initially it is large and white/cream in colour. It will turn a deeper reddish-brown over time and maybe even fall off leaving only a memory of it’s presence! But key features to note are that ‘above’ the ring the stem is the same/similar colour to the pores underneath the cap, but below the ring is white, at least underneath sepia brown granulations and darker markings – so let’s just say darker!

There is no real distinctive smell or anything like that to make you want to pick and eat it, but it is edible and definitely worth a try. After peeling away the glooping covering they must be cooked and may shrink a little as they are very ‘watery’. OK, so you don’t have much left, but try it sliced in some omelettes or add as a pizza topping. And thanks to a recent comment (see below) it’s most common use is to dry slices of the cap (after peeling and cooking I presume) and then process into powder which is good to add to soups, casseroles and such. All good stuff.

Suillus luteus pictures

QUICK ID TABLE: SLIPPERY JACK Suillus luteus

FRUITING BODY

5 – 12cm in diametre, Chestnut or sepia colour. More rusty colour when older. Brown slimy & sticky gluten on surface. Shiny when dry. Flesh is white.

STEM

5-10cm x 2-3cm. Ring on stem. Pale straw colour above ring at apex. White but discoloured darker brown with age. Ring initially large white/cream darkening to deep brown/sepia.

PORES / SPORE PRINT

Small and round. Lemon yellow / straw colour.
Spore Print: Clay – ochre(see how to take a spore print here).

HABITAT / SEASON

With conifers, usually Scotts pine in autumn. Common.

EDIBILITY

Edible but watery. Must peel slime off and cook before eating. Or dry and process into a powder for soups and casseroles.

The Genus SUILLUS (related to BOLETUS – the Boletes): Characteristics to look out for:

• Like Boletes, Suillus has pores on the underside instead of gills.
• Most have glutinous/slimy caps, especially when wet.
• Growing in association with conifers.

14 replies
  1. Varsha
    Varsha says:

    Hi John,

    This is a nice find and one that I have had the chance to try. I wont lie, I bought them dried from Sainsbury’s! It’s been a while now but I remember thinking they were a little peppery to the taste and a great complement to a mushroom broth I made. Interested to see if you or any body else also thought this?

    Reply
    • J C Harris
      J C Harris says:

      Hi Varsha, I have heard they are best dried and make them into powder. Were yours dried mushroom slices or powder? The powder can be added to stews and soups etc. for a flavoursome kick. I haven’t tries this yet. Interesting about the stronger peppery taste. In fact I’ll add it to the post to give people a better idea on using it for cooking.

      Thanks
      John

      Reply
  2. Varsha
    Varsha says:

    The ones I bought were dried slices. This leads me to another question I have been meaning to ask and it’s about the Peppery Bolete. I have been seeing a few around, at least I’m sure it’s them as they fit the criteria, especially the bit about find them in close proximity to Fly Agarics. Some books say they are edible, others say not and I don’t know which school of thought to go by especially as I’m a big fan of peppery flavours and would love to bring some home if only for seasoning… What say you?

    Reply
    • J C Harris
      J C Harris says:

      Hi Varsha
      If you’re sure they’re Peppery Boletes I’d go for it. I think the flavour is too much for some. But like you, I love strong peppery flavour. I just think the powder needs to be used sparingly.

      Reply
  3. @markwildfood
    @markwildfood says:

    Hi Folks,
    I eat peppery bolete regularly as part of mixed mushroom dishes. They don’t taste (to me) quite as peppery as some books lead you to believe. Most of the pepperiness disappears on cooking.
    Drying of mushrooms is usually done prior to cooking as far as I know.
    We get lots of slippery jacks up in Scotland. As with most suillus, the small buttons are good for cooking fresh, but once bigger than a few cm, best to peel, slice and dry.
    Keep an eye out for ceps around your peppery bolete patches!
    Happy hunting,

    Mark.

    Reply
    • J C Harris
      J C Harris says:

      Great tips and information there Mark. Thanks. I’m looking forward to finding some more. I think I’ll dry them and make into powder because I love making soups. It will be a good additional ingredient.

      Reply
  4. Rory Boutagy
    Rory Boutagy says:

    Thank you for making it so easy for me to recognise & identify “slippery jacks” I found under the pine trees in my paddocks 200 Kms south of Sydney Australia! By all accounts I should be drying them. Any tips on doing this? Sun dried, oven dried ? Whole or sliced ? Peeled or not? Grateful for an expert’s advice.

    Reply
  5. Rory
    Rory says:

    Hi John, tks for speedy reply with info on drying them. Did it all & after 40 minutes my house was filled with a beautiful perfume. Curiosity got the better of me & went to check the oven – aaaaaaahhhhhrrrr.
    This dopey Dora set oven to 150 as per instructions, – but would have been smarter if i noticed it was Fahrenheit, not centigrade. Consequently I have VERY dried slippery jacks. Will be more careful next time. But I can still use in risotto or a pasta sauce.

    Reply
    • J C Harris
      J C Harris says:

      I wish I could help Pk. But even if I did know some great locations, there would be no guarantee of when or where they’d fruit. Your best bet is just to get out there. Your local mixed woodland or public accessible fields or pastures. Good luck.

      Reply
  6. Neil.
    Neil. says:

    Hello John,
    I’m very surprised you never questioned Varsha on her claim to having bought dried Suillus luteus from Sainsbury’s.
    To my knowledge, Sainsbury’s have never, and would never, sell dried S.luteus in their supermarkets.
    Boletus edulis maybe, but not S.luteus.

    Reply
    • J C Harris
      J C Harris says:

      Hi Neil. I didn’t want to question it really. They may have been part of a deli section and I haven’t been to Sainsbury’s for years. Maybe they do have a good section in other ‘select’ branches…

      Reply

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