Author Topic: Mushroom Gathering  (Read 4944 times)

Mona Folds

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Mushroom Gathering
« on: September 29, 2010, 10:56:52 AM »
Our oldest son (14 yrs) has a strong passion for learning about wildlife, herbs, plants, mushrooms, etc.  About two years ago he studied several books about mushrooms, devoting about a year of it to research.  He went exploring in the woods and brought back so many different types of mushrooms.  He would tote a heavy bag full of all his field guides and books and go for hours at a time.   We (my husband and I) had warned him many times about the dangers of even touching a poisonous mushroom, and he would always say, "I know".   There was one variety that he tried to convince me to cook for supper, and he tried for weeks to assure me it was safe and that there are no poisonous mushrooms that come close to resembling it.  I still would not cook them, but told him that if there ever came a time and there was no other choice, I may consider it.  Is there anyone here who has gathered wild mushrooms to cook for their meals?

Offline joeinwv

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Re: Mushroom Gathering
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2010, 11:20:46 AM »
Only morels. I had a great uncle that was a big mushroom hound, but never went with him. He had a secret source for hen of the woods and antler mushrooms.

If you avoid amanitas, false morels, any small brown mushroom and jack o lanterns (false chanterelle) - you avoid the main poisonous groups.

That said, I would strongly suggest finding a mentor - there is only so much identification you can do with a book and most mushroom poisons do not have antidotes. You have to be sure.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Mushroom Gathering
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2010, 12:13:45 PM »
I'm going to move this over to the foraging board.  Yes it is an outdoor activity, but I think it fits better over there.

Offline Alpha Mike

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Re: Mushroom Gathering
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2010, 04:33:53 PM »
I'm not sure where you are located, but there are several "mushroom societies" out there that meet regularly and do "show and tell" if you will.  Yo can see mushrooms first had and learn about the ones in your local area.  The key is mushrooms are different everywhere and you need to learn your local mushrooms from someone how know if you want to be on the safe side. 

Myself, I have learned 4 different mushroom in my area that are edible and have foraged for to eat.  All the rest are just LBM (little brown mushrooms.)

Mona Folds

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Re: Mushroom Gathering
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2010, 09:39:03 PM »
We're in East Central Alabama.  My son says it was the Giant Puff Ball that he was certain was not poisonous.  But, thanks for the mention of "mushroom societies".  I'll have to check into that.

Offline joeinwv

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Re: Mushroom Gathering
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2010, 09:48:37 PM »
giant puffball is not poisonous - some poisonous ones can kind of look like a tiny puffball when little - the way to be sure is cut it in half - should just be plain white

Offline Howard Wallace

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Re: Mushroom Gathering
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2010, 05:06:31 AM »
My home is in the opposite corner of the nation from yours, but I do collect mushrooms for food.  Not so much as I used to, but still when the opportunity arises.

Your son has taken the correct course with his studies.  The first thing to do is study the guides and become familiar with methods of identification.  Then focus on positive identification of one species at a time, starting with the easiest and most distinctive.  The giant puffball is indeed one of these, as your son told you.

You may want to ask your son for an introduction to the topic, and then study up as he has.  You will then be in a much better position to realistically assess hazards.  You will also get to spend time with your son discussing a topic that just might capture your interest once you start.

Offline Alpha Mike

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Re: Mushroom Gathering
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2010, 09:43:37 AM »
+1  Puffball is one of the safe one I know.

Mona Folds

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Re: Mushroom Gathering
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2010, 01:48:50 PM »
Thanks for all of your responses.  Howard Wallace, that was some really good advice, I'll try that.

Offline Ultio1

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Re: Mushroom Gathering
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2010, 04:56:51 PM »
There are really not that many leathly poisonous mushrooms. Thats not to say they arent around. I know quite few people who eat alot of mushrooms they find without incident so far. I even met a guy who has eaten every kind of mushroom he has ever found including the poison ones and he seems fine.

The best advice I can give you is to encourage your son to learn even more about mycology and get him together with some local mushroom hunters in your area. The ONLY way to get familiar enough with mushrooms to be certain is to spend time with people who have done it for years. If you google your town and mycology and mushroom hunting you should have no problem finding a group that goes out fairly regularly with college degrees and decades of experience in gathering mushrooms. There are also some very good online resources like  mushroom observer. I know I said this before but face to face instruction is the only way to really learn to identify fungi.

 Focus on learning to positively identifying the poison mushrooms in your area as the number of non poisonous ones will be in the hundreds and the truly dangerous ones are surprisingly few in number.

The other option is for him to learn to cultivate mushrooms and grow your own edible mushrooms.

 http://everythingmushrooms.com

Mona Folds

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Re: Mushroom Gathering
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2010, 06:02:32 PM »
I even met a guy who has eaten every kind of mushroom he has ever found including the poison ones and he seems fine.

Our son says you can get immune to them?  It kind of makes sense.  I hear the Indians were immune to poison ivy.  They also used to cook and eat it.  Makes you wonder if "poisonous" mushrooms is just a myth?  Maybe there is another cause for it - a weakened immune system?  I'm not going to rush out there and eat any, nor encourage our son to do so - I still believe in caution.  But it does make you wonder.

Thanks for that website.  I forgot about Kombucha.  We used to drink it a lot.


Offline Howard Wallace

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Re: Mushroom Gathering
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2010, 01:54:32 AM »
Our son says you can get immune to them?  It kind of makes sense.  I hear the Indians were immune to poison ivy.  They also used to cook and eat it.  Makes you wonder if "poisonous" mushrooms is just a myth?  Maybe there is another cause for it - a weakened immune system?  ...

Please do not go overboard the other way.  There are mushrooms that will kill you if you eat them.  Others will make you wish they did.  The best thing to do is to learn about the subject from reputable sources.

Offline Ultio1

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Re: Mushroom Gathering
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2010, 09:36:58 AM »
I need to post this just for my own piece of mind. I do not advocate eating poisonous mushrooms.  There are several types that do typically lead to organ failure. 

The point I was trying to make is that if your son were to go hunting with some local mycologists he would learn to Identify some mushrooms that are edible and could do so safely. 

Has he read mycelium running by Paul Stamets?  Its not a identification guide but it is a mind blowing read that any person interested in mushrooms would enjoy.

Mona Folds

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Re: Mushroom Gathering
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2010, 12:50:43 PM »
No, don't worry...we wouldn't do that.  My husband and I both still agree that our son has to have a mentor and go out several times studying mushrooms because you can't go by books alone.  Same with herbs.