Friday, July 22, 2022

Monday, July 11, 2022

Mushrooms - how to harvest and eat them raw

In no way this presents a guidance on fungi eating for everybody. I just wrote it for myself and made public. Everybody: consult with a specialist before eating mushrooms, especially raw. Most mushrooms are not edible raw, some of them are poisonous and deadly. Deadly. Deadly. Deadly.

Learn poisonous mushrooms signs. If we should remember only two - these are "death cap" and "destroying angel". Most deadly.

It has the following signs:

  • Unsorted signs:
    • Gills. 
      • Gills. I has gills underneath instead of foam. That's why it is easy to mess it with other fungi with gills like russule. That's why for novice mushroom hunters it is best to avoid fungi with gills at all. 
      • White gills. Gills of the cap are white. They will never turn other color. Caution: Amanita hygroscopia the destroying angel has pink gills and this mushroom is also deadly.
    • Skirt. In the top part, under the cap, it has a skirt (ring) on its leg. Be careful: the skirt can be worn out on old mushrooms or it can be absent on young fungi. That's why good rule is to avoid getting small young fungi and old fungi.
    • Volva. In the bottom part, it has cup (sack or volva). Sometimes need to dig to see it. Pick up mushrooms by pulling them with your fingers instead of cutting with a knife. This will show volva. Also avoiding using knife does not damage mushrooms reproducing system.
    • Stem. Thin stem (stalk) (usually). Inside, the stem is white (need to cut it to see).
  • Don't trust to:
    • Bite. If we see a sign of bite, that doesn't mean that the mushroom is edible. Maybe that was a bite of a rabbit. Rabbits can digest death cap, humans not. Or maybe other human did bite it and today there is no this human anymore...
    • Worms. If we see worms that doesn't mean that the mushroom is edible. Worms can eat death cap.
    • Cap color. The cap outside might differ in color: white, green, brown, red etc. So the cap color per se does not tell us anything.
    • Taste. Survived people said that death cap is very tasty when it is raw.

So general advises for novices are

  • Offline. In the wild forest, usually Internet works bad. So save this page, and download few good photos of the a death cap mushroom on your phone.
  • Old mushrooms. Avoid them because a skirt on an old death cap can be worn out.
  • Small mushrooms. Avoid them because of a skirt and the whole box on a death cab could not be visible on them. Even if you collect small edible mushroom it does not give much value due to its size.
  • Gills. Avoid mushrooms with gills (for novices) - not to mess it with a death cap. Choose rather fungi with a foam (instead of gills) underneath the cap.
  • Err on the side of denial. Often we are in doubt whether the mushroom is edible or poisonous. We should err on a side of poisonous - get rid of the fungi. It is not worthy to take a risk.
  • Knife. Have a knife on hand to inspect mushrooms interior.

Other miscellaneous notes (not about life danger):

  • Wormy. Don't pick up wormy fungi, lots of toxins are there.
  • Blue color. Before eating the mushroom, cut a piece from its cap and see the color inside. Blue color is a sign of rotten fungi, it is very bitter, not good to eat.