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Sep 20, 2008 10:50 AM

I wish I knew how to recognize which mushrooms are edible.

I was walking the dog this morning when I spotted a beautiful mushroom peeking out from under a hedge at the apartment building next door. I was surprised _ aren't mushrooms supposed to grow when it's damp? The weather has been dry lately. Anyway, I couldn't resist picking it. It was slighly smaller than a portobello. But I had to throw it away, since I don't know the first thing about which mushrooms are edible and which would make me sick. How many of you do know? Do you go foraging for mushrooms in the fall?

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  1. i forage for only ones I am 100% sure about. I stay away from lbm (little brown mushrooms) and white mushrooms as there are a TON of each and they all look the same to me, poisonous or not.

    Spring of this year my boyfriend and I went out to look for morels and as we were driving to our destination I spotted a bright neon orange and yellow out of the corner of my eye. I made him stop the car and I found a huge chicken of woods mushroom. It was so beautiful we had to pick it for me to take home. I braised them in some chicken stock and boy were they tasty.

    I'm going to give foraging a try this fall, but if I'm not 100% sure about it i leave it be and let my boyfriend (the photographer) take as many photos of it as he wants to.

    Here in Maryland I tend to find a larger variety of mushrooms than I did back in Boston.

    Oh and last spring I only found 2 morels ): They are terribly hard to find. I'm not an expert so I don't have any "secret" hiding places.

    1. You need a pocket guide, sheets of white paper for spore prints, and a paper bag to store your booty. A camera will help, too, if you want to share information with others.

      10 Replies
      1. re: jayt90

        The guides are worse than useless. Those little buggers shift form so fast that it's impossible to peg them to an illustration in a pocket book produced and printed by the lowest tender. Highliner, Puffballs and morels are the edge for me.

        1. re: jayt90

          That white paper might cause a few problems with white spore prints. some of the more dangerous mushrooms have white prints.

          1. re: jsummers

            Thanks, I'll be heading out soon with two shades of paper, camera, and a guide with spore prints. There are no mentors nearby, and community college courses are somewhat rare. Does anyone have any good websites for advice?

            1. re: jayt90

              Let a friend know where you are off to, so you don't end up as a "missing person".

              1. re: jayt90

                just google up mycology, or mushroom identification. I'm sure you'll get plenty of results. Look for ones from universities. That reminds me, University of Michigan has a decent mycology dept. Good Luck!! Stay away from LBM's, Little Brown Mushrooms

                1. re: jayt90

         used to be a good site. Haven't checked it in a while, though.

                  1. re: Nyleve

                    so dry here in southern indiana... aint no mushrooms right now... what a stone drag..

                  2. re: jayt90

                    Unless I'm mistaken - you can spore at home.Spoor comes out as the mushroom ages. Camera and guide are good. Do go on line or whatever to establish the tried and true of your area - look for those as opposed to identifying everything you come across - only a few mushrooms are choice edibles.
                    I have a deal with people in my community - I won't tell them where or what - but If they bring it to me - I will tell them if they have it right. Maybe you can find someone like that?
                    If nothing else the hunt is great. Its a cross between meditating and easter egg hunting.

                    1. re: coastie

                      cross between meditating and easter egg hunting. <-- Very well put coastie! and yes, you probably will want to do the spore prints at home.

                      1. re: coastie

                        I used to do spore prints as a science/art project w/ 4th graders on white & black construction paper. What fun.
                        Hunting is a little like shrooming. I call it armed hiking. Look out grouse (to be stuffed w/ wild mushrooms) here I come. Varruuumph, flap, flap, flap, boom; what a rush.

                2. The title of your post could wind up being your epitaph...please be careful.

                  1. So where do people learn this skill? Is it better/possible to just grow your own?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: yayadave

                      It is a family tradition in my family, that's where I learned it. We only pick one type (morels) and we know what to look for.