nor.: Ametystkremle | swe.: ametystkremla | fin.: Ametistihapero | dt.: Amethysttäubling
The amethyst brittlegill is a lesser known member of the brittlegill family (Russula). With its strong purple colouring, it is actually quite striking, but most people either confuse it with the much better-known Charcoal burner (R. cyanoxantha) or regard it as inedible. Amethyst britllegills are usually found in coniferous forests. As with all members of the Russula family, the rule for russulae applies also here (see below). If you can identifiy it correctly it is an excellent mushroom to eat
Appearance & habitat of Amethyst brittlegill (Russula amethystina)
cap diameter: up to 10cm
months: June – October (Central Europe)
colours: white stem, white gills, violett cap with darker zone in the center
habitat: Coniferous forest (spruce), likes acid soil
odour: Pleasantly spicy, strongly iodoform in the stem base
The Amethyst Brittlegill (Russula amethystina) is a beautiful mushroom with a cap diameter of up to 10 cm. The cap is violet, wine-red, or dark purplish, with a darker zone towards the center.
Its stem is white with a thickened base that may emit a slight Jodoform scent. The mild-tasting flesh of the mushroom is white to creamy-colored. It can be found in coniferous forests from summer to autumn, where it forms a symbiotic relationship with the roots of coniferous trees, especially spruce.
Look-Alikes of the Amethyst brittlegill (Russula amethystina)
While it may be confused with the Jodoform Brittlegill, a microscopic examination of the spores is needed to differentiate them. However, this distinction is important only for scientific purposes, as both mushrooms have similar edible qualities.
There are of course many other brittlegill species that can have a similar appearance. If you can identifiy the genus Russula correct, the Russula rule can be helpful to identify inedible species.
The Russula rule
Basically, as with all Russula spp. (at least in Europe) the “russula rule” is: “Any tasty russula can be eaten“. Of course, this presupposes that the genus Russula can be clearly identified without doubts. Inedible or poisonous species of the genus Russula are characterized by a spicy, pungent or bitter taste. A small taste-sample can therefore provide further information.
But be careful: Many highly poisonous mushrooms from other fungal families (e.g. death cap mushroom) can be just as mild and “tasty”, but cause severe poisoning even in very small quantities. Anyone who has even slight doubts should refrain from collecting or tasting mushrooms in general and especially with white gills!
Caution: Mushrooms Are Not Guesswork!
Only harvest mushrooms that you can identify with 100% certainty! The consequences can be life threatening if you are wrong. If you have the slightest doubt: do not eat the mushroom! This is not a mushroom guide! For correct identification consult a mushroom expert.
Amethyst brittlegill (Russula amethystina) in the kitchen
The Amethyst Russula is a versatile mushroom that can be used in a variety of dishes like other Russula species (e.g.: Charcoal burner or Crab brittlegill). It is commonly used in sautés, stir-fries, soups, stews, and casseroles. Due to its mild flavor, it pairs well with other ingredients, such as onions, garlic, potatoes, and other vegetables. Its firm, meaty texture makes it an excellent substitute for meat in vegetarian dishes.
It can be cooked in a variety of ways, including sautéing, grilling, roasting, and baking. Like all brittlegills this mushroom can contain a lot of water, so it is best to cook it over high heat to prevent it from becoming too watery. When sautéin, we recommend to use butter or oil to help bring out its natural flavor.
It also pairs very well with a variety of ingredients and flavors, including garlic, onions, shallots, thyme, rosemary, sage, and other herbs. It also goes well with meats, such as chicken, pork, and beef.
Amethyst brittlegill (Russula amethystina) recipe
Here is a simple idea of fried Amethyst brittlegills baked with blue cheese.
- 15 Amethyst Brittlegill mushroom caps
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
- Clean the Amethyst Brittlegill caps, peal the skin from the cap and remove the stems.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Add the mushroom caps to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and tender.
- Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle the crumbled blue cheese over the top of the mushrooms right before they are cooked.
- Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a serving dish.
- Serve the Amethyst Brittlegill mushrooms with blue cheese on top as a tasty appetizer or side dish.
We have compiled this overview with the best of knowledge and belief, but do not claim to be complete and reserve the right to make errors.
Learn more about poisonous mushrooms and mushroom poisons here