So you are on the hunt for edible mushrooms… before you get started, make sure that you know what you’re doing – hunting for mushrooms is actually a complicated process that can take years of experience to master. Luckily, there are many tips and tricks that can help you find mushrooms that are safe to eat.
We’ve already discussed some of the most deadly and poisonous mushrooms that you should avoid. Now, brace yourself – we’re going to outline some of the most obviously safe mushrooms that you can eat.
If you plan to go foraging for mushrooms, familiarize yourself with the mushrooms that grow in your region. Amazon has some great books about regional mushrooms, including:
- How To Identify Edible Mushrooms
- The Complete Mushroom Hunter: An Illustrated Guide to Finding, Harvesting, and Enjoying Wild Mushrooms
- 100 Edible Mushrooms
- A Field Guide to Mushrooms: North America (Peterson Field Guides)
Finding Your First Mushrooms
On your foraging trip, you will need several tools:
- A flat-bottomed box or basket
- Waxed paper
- Small shovel or trowel
- Mushroom field guide (Do Not Forget your mushroom guide!)
Inspect the appearance and growing area of each mushroom, and look in your field guide to determine if the description of edible mushrooms in your book lines up with the mushroom you see in front of you. If the descriptions and pictures match, take a picture of the mushroom. Note any differences between the field guide and what you see in real life in your notebook.
After recording the information about the mushrooms, dig the mushroom out carefully by the stem with your shovel. If the mushrooms seem old, or have insect damage, choose a different mushroom. After you’ve removed the mushroom, place it in your basket – use pieces of waxed paper to separate the layers of mushrooms, and keep them fresh while you forage.
While you’re learning, take any mushrooms you find to a local agricultural office for identification, and check with the office to ensure that your mushrooms are safe to eat. Once you’re really good at identifying the ‘good’ mushrooms, then you won’t have to visit the agricultural office so often. In the beginning, however, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Use the following list of obviously safe mushrooms as a basis for your mushroom exploration (click each image for identification tips):
Have you ever hunted for mushrooms? What tips can you offer the novice hunter?