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Collecting For the Table

  • Stay away from LBM's [Little Brown Mushrooms], they include many poisonous species that are difficult to distinguish from edible species. Examine each mushroom you pick carefully. Poisonous and edible mushrooms often grow side by side.
  • Don't eat any mushroom that is past its prime. If you wouldn't buy it in a grocery store because of its condition, don't eat it from the wild. Eating edible species that have spoiled causes many mushroom poisonings.
  • Don't overeat on wild mushrooms. Mushrooms should be a portion of a balanced meal, not the whole meal.
  • Always eat sparingly of any mushroom species that you haven't eaten before. It's always possible you will have an allergic reaction to a particular mushroom species. Put a few specimens of the mushroom you plan to eat in the refrigerator, so that a mycologist can positively identify the genera and species if it turns out a mistake has been made.
  • When picking puffballs, cut them in half vertically and examine the contents. If the inside is not pure white and unstructured, don't eat it. A puffball with an interior structure resembling the outline of a mushroom may be an undeveloped Amanita button. If the interior is firm but discolored or black, it may be an over ripe puffball or one of the poisonous earthballs.
  • Be suspicious of any mushroom with warts, scales or raised projections on its cap. It could be a poisonous Amanita.
  • Look for specific recognizable mushrooms. When you go out picking berries, you collect strawberries or blackberries. You don't pick every kind of berry you come across, mix them in a basket, and expect some expert to tell you which are edible. Follow the same logic with mushrooms.