The Indigo Milk Cap: A New Find for the Pacific Northwest

The Indigo Milk Cap mushroom, also known as Lactarius indigo, is a new find for Pacific Northwest residents. 

This fungus has recently been found in the forests of Oregon and Washington for the first time. Traditionally found in the eastern US, the finding of this amazing mushroom in this part of the country is an exciting day for Pacific Northwesterners to know that they can finally enjoy this rare species of mushroom!

The article below will tell you more about what these mushrooms look like and where you might be able to find them.

What is an indigo milk cap?

The indigo milk cap (Lactarius indigo) is a species of fungus in the Russulaceae family.

First described as new to science by American mycologist Charles Horton Peck in 1887, it has been collected from Nova Scotia and Washington State.

It can be found growing under coniferous trees (such as Douglas fir and hemlock), typically from August through October, but sometimes earlier during wet seasons.

This mushroom is often overlooked because it closely resembles many different milk caps that grow widely throughout North America; however, closer inspection reveals its blue coloration on top of a white lattice pattern underneath its gills!  

Indigo Milk Cap Blue Color
Indigo milk caps have a distinct blue coloration that distinguishes them from other members of the Lactarius family.

What does an indigo milk cap look like?

An indigo milk cap looks very similar to other Lactarius on the outside, but if you take a closer look at this mushroom by breaking it open or looking underneath its gills, then you will quickly see that it is blue!

The blue coloring is due to the presence of a pigment called indigotin which is also found in blueberries.

The spores of this mushroom are dark purplish-black and can be found on the underside of its cap when it is young, but as the indigo milk cap ages, they disintegrate into a powdery substance that makes them hard to see.

What does an indigo milk cap taste like?

An indigo milk cap has a mild, sweet, and slightly nutty taste. However, the primary value in picking and cooking these mushrooms is in their vivid blue color.

What does the inside of an indigo milk cap look like under its gills?

If you break open a Lactarius indigo then you will see that it turns blue when broken. The gills are typically notched and there is no stem present on this mushroom.

Milk Cap Mushroom
Indigo milk caps are hard to distinguish from other milk cap mushrooms before you pick them up and examine them closely.

Where can indigo milk caps be found in the Pacific Northwest?

Indigo milk caps are mainly found in the eastern U.S., but have more recently been found growing in a few of the states in the Pacific Northwest. 

They can be commonly seen around Northern California, Oregon, and Washington state.

This mushroom prefers to grow in damp environments such as forests or near streams, but it has also been found growing on buried wood underneath pine trees.

How do you properly store indigo milk caps so that they don't lose any of their color?

You should keep your Lactarius indigos stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days after picking before cooking them thoroughly.

If you wish to preserve the coloring of the mushroom, you should place them in a paper bag to prevent moisture from being absorbed.

In order to store mushrooms in a manner that preserves them properly, you should first identify whether they are a shelf-stable or a perishable mushroom.

Shelf-stable mushrooms are the easiest to store as they can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature and will last for weeks or even months.

Perishable mushrooms, on the other hand, need to be stored in a refrigerator and used within a few days of purchase.

The indigo milk cap falls under the perishable category, so you should aim to use them within three or four days of purchasing them at your local grocer or farmer’s market.

These are wonderful edibles that can be used in many different dishes. You won’t believe how delicious they taste when sautéed in just some olive oil and garlic salt!

The indigo milk caps have been found growing near streams in forests all over North America making it easy for anyone who loves wild food gathering to get their hands on these amazing edibles. They’re absolutely delicious fresh out of the ground, but do retain much of their distinctive color and mild nutty taste if stored properly before cooking (or preserved).

Wild Plucked Indigo Milk Cap Mushroom
Indigo milk caps are typically found in the eastern U.S., but have more recently been found in forests in parts of the Pacifc Northwest.

How do you cook an indigo milk cap?

The indigo milk caps are a great edible to cook with. They can easily be substituted in any recipe that calls for mushrooms. All you need is a quick sauté in some olive oil and garlic salt until they’re nice and browned. Serve them up on some fresh toast or over your favorite pasta dish!

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also use the indigo milk cap mushroom as the star of your dish! By quickly deep frying them after battering or breadcrumbing them, you can maintain their vivid blue coloration.

If you want to get really crazy, try slicing them up thinly and serving them over a pizza for a bright splash of unusual color on your favorite pie.

Buy Wild Mushrooms from Foraged

We have an awesome selection of fresh and dried wild mushrooms. Sustainably harvested by certified foragers.

Wholesale Pricing List

Fill out this short form and we will email you our most up-to-date pricing list.

Vendor Support Form

Fill out this short form and we will be in touch right away!