Why are we so fearful of mushrooms?

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP–Living in Natures Love Lifestyles @insideawareness.com

Amanita muscaria mushroom

When I am excited about finding a new type of mushroom or even considering culturing my own mushrooms,  the first thing others share back with me is, “You have to be careful, they can be dangerous.”  (or some other similar phrase)  It’s a downer for sure and quite frankly the cautionary tone is annoying.  If you haven’t researched mushrooms yourself you cannot be an educated authority on the topic.

I have never met anyone who has gotten ill or died from eating mushrooms.  I have met those who have gotten deathly ill from eating oysters, restaurant food and commercially sold food products.   In many decades of life I have heard only a few stories of people who died from eating mushrooms in the Province of B.C., where I live.  When I google how many people have died in B.C., from eating mushrooms in the past few decades, NO factual research shows up!  There are many warnings though about the Death Cap Mushrooms.  Specifically in the Greater Victoria region.

Having written this, it doesn’t mean I recommend going out and eating any old mushroom without researching it first.  I recommend foragers research the mushrooms they find to confidently know their mushrooms are edible and that they have reassurance they are not poisonous.  Don’t assume mushrooms are safe because they are growing in urban areas.  Do your due diligence and find answers through foraging mentors, experts and/or through field guides, local groups, etc.

Surprised by arrival of the Prince of all Mushrooms – agaricus augustus

Growing Living Foods from the Grocer:  Mushrooms

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Red Cracked Bolete (Boletus chrysenteron)

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP–Living in Natures Love Lifestyles insideawareness.com)

 

 

This afternoon I discovered these mushrooms in my backyard garden.   A pleasant surprise that began another search to discover what type it was and to find out if it was edible of course.  Fortunately there are a number of great Facebook pages devoted to identifying mushrooms that show great pictures as does google images.  It turned out these mushroom are Red Cracking Bolete also known as Porcini in Italy, and the sponge mushroom in the Northeastern States of the US.  Yes they are edible.

Bolete Mushrooms are avidly sought after for food.  However if you are foraging for Bolete Mushrooms, always take precautions.  Boletes with a red or orange
pore surface, especially those that bruise blue, are not recommended (National Audubon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms by Gary Lincoff).

I washed them, cut them up and gave them a quick stir fry in olive oil.  I was astonished at how wonderful they tasted.  These wild mushrooms are one of the nicest tasting mushrooms I have ever eaten.  I will possibly not be able to leave any to dry!

More about the mushroom characteristics

The first thing I noticed about this mushroom is the pores on the underside of the cap.  I was curious on discovering whether this mushroom was safe when I noticed the absence of familiar gills under the cap and the striking green colour of the pours instead.  There was also the bright red on the stems.  Reading up on this species I discovered that these qualities do not fit in the category of dangerous types.  They are edible and safe.

Growing Conditions

In the research I read these mushroom like to grow under certain trees, however I do not have these trees close by.  I have a Privet tree 6 feet away along with a Birch Tree 10 feet away.  Earlier in the year our neighbour cut down a Douglas Fir that was about 15 feet away.  Another surprise mushroom visitor, The Prince, that came earlier in August grew next to a 12 foot  Cedar hedge.  These Bolete are growing 20 feet away from this hedge.  What I have done is edge this bed with old wood cuttings that I hoped to grow succulents on.

Read more on another surprise backyard mushroom visitor called the “Prince’

More on growing mushrooms from Living in Natures Love 

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Information on foraging mushrooms, their uses and properties are for educational purposes only.   Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed.  If foraging for mushrooms ensure you consult an experienced mushroom forager for information on your mushrooms or for mentoring on what mushrooms are safe and which ones are poisonous.  Be smart.