Food Failures: How to Collect Mushrooms (and Eat Them, Too)
You wouldn’t eat just any berry you find in the woods, would you? The same caution applies to mushroom hunting, says Eugenia Bone, president of the New York Mycological Society. But no need to fear every fungus you find. Join a local club, and you’ll meet mycophiles who can help you tell honey mushrooms (Armillaria mellea) from deadly Galerinas (Galerina marginata). Though some wild mushrooms are famously eaten raw, like truffles and porcini, in general it’s best to cook your fungi finds, Bone says—some edibles contain toxins that are only neutralized when heated. And before scarfing down a whole plate of “chicken of the woods” (Laetiporus sulphureus) or some other wild mushroom for the first time, try a small taste—some people have allergic reactions to certain species. (Plus, read an excerpt from Eugenia’s book Mycophilia.)
Eugenia Bone is author of Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms (Rodale, 2011) and president of the New York Mycological Society in New York, New York.