Foraging for mushrooms has been around since, well, the beginning of time. Foraging, similar to when hunting game, can be a hobby for one individual and a necessity for another. On the one hand, some foragers enjoy the thrill of the discovery, while others utilize mushrooms by adding them to their pantry and food stores.
The one thing that stops many from foraging for mushrooms is that, if you are not familiar with all the varieties out there, the result could very well be your death. I mean, just look at the video game Super Mario—he eats a mushroom, and it never comes to a good end—right? However, if you eat a poisonous mushroom, you do not get to go back to the beginning and start again.
The problem with foraging for mushrooms is that one variety may look like another. However, one may be safe, and one may not. Before heading out on a foraging expedition, it is in your best interest, and your life, to educate yourself on what to look for, and those varieties to avoid.
Experts agree that the first, and primary, mistake that beginning foragers make is that they will easily find a wide assortment of edible mushrooms. Although it is true that you will, at times, find large patches, other times, you may not find anything at all. Some days will be plentiful, and you will pick enough mushrooms for a meal that day and put back for staples in your panty. Other days, you may very well come home empty-handed.
If you would like to try your hand at foraging mushrooms, there are a few handy tips and tricks to keep your search successful and healthy.
Foraging For Mushrooms Tips
- Do not be afraid to take a book along with you, detailing with photos the varieties of mushrooms that are edible. You could also take advantage of a phone app such as Wild Edibles.
- It is crucial that you do not pull the mushrooms up by their stems, but that you cut them off at the ground.
- There are those that suggest you do not forage for more than you plan to eat, but there are those that are willing to share the harvest with friends and family.
- Make sure you know what you are harvesting and that the mushrooms are safe for human consumption. This is perhaps the most important tip on this list.
- If you are not sure of a variety you have run across, take a picture. You can then share it with those who can identify if it is safe or not.
- Even if you foraging for mushrooms proves unproductive, make sure to enjoy your time in the forest with nature. There is much more to be gained from foraging than coming home with a sack full of tasty mushrooms.
Keep in mind that not every trip out will prove to be 100 percent successful. However, that is part of the fun and appeal of the process. Foraging for mushrooms has the potential to be of benefit in several different ways that don’t include the number of mushrooms that you find.