for Beginning Wild Mushroom Hunters
Many beginning wild mushroom hunters take
the straight-line approach of learning to identify a
particular mushroom they want to find and eat. They read
one field guide and then go out and pick mushrooms and
try to make them fit the description in the field guide.
This approach can be dangerous! Before you pick that
mushroom to eat, you need to learn all of its
identifying characteristics, including its look alikes.
The old saying, "A little knowledge is
dangerous" applies to mushroom identification. If
you want to practice your fungal hunter/gatherer skills
safely, you need to spend the time to really make sure
you really know the mushrooms you want!
Here are some simple rules you should follow to
safely eat wild mushrooms:
Know all the mushroom's
Be aware of any look alike
species that might be confused with the kind you
want to eat.
Know what color the mushroom's
spore print is supposed to be and make sure your
mushrooms have that spore color.
Get at least one positive ID of
the mushrooms from an experienced mushroom
Eat only a small amount at
first. You could be allergic to the species.
There are people who are allergic to Boletus
edulis and Morchella angusticeps, and
these species are considered excellent edibles.
If in doubt, throw it out! If
you aren't completely sure of your
identification, don't eat it! The same comment
applies to mushrooms that are old, smelly or
doubtful looking. You wouldn't eat a rotten
tomato, and you shouldn't eat mushrooms that
don't look or smell quite right!
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