Because some poisonous mushrooms can look similar to non-poisonous mushrooms, wild mushrooms should not be eaten unless they have been carefully examined and determined edible by a recognized mushroom expert.
Multiple hospitalizations, gastrointestinal illnesses and deaths in past years have been caused by the consumption of wild mushrooms. The deaths have been linked to the Amanita ocreata mushroom, also known as the "destroying angel," and Amanita phalloides, also known as the "death cap." These mushrooms grow in some parts of the UK most commonly found during the Autumn.
Mushroom collectors sometimes overestimate their ability to distinguish deadly mushrooms from edible mushrooms, with potentially tragic results.
Individuals who refer to mushroom guidebooks or have families who have collected mushrooms for many years in their native countries may mistakenly believe that they can distinguish the deadly mushroom from edible varieties.
Eating poisonous mushrooms can cause abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage and even death. With the deadly Amanitas, abdominal symptoms are usually delayed eight to 12 hours so victims may not initially connect their symptoms to the wild mushrooms. As the initial gastrointestinal symptoms subside, evidence of liver damage appears and some victims may suffer total liver failure and require a liver transplant to survive.
So in short, my advice is this, the safest mushroom by far is the Cep (porcini) and also the nicest to eat. They are safe as it is very easy to identify the ones that are poisonous and even those varieties will be unlikely to kill you. So if you are planning some wild mushroom food, stick with Ceps unless you are an expert.
Here is a picture of a non-poisonous mushroom - the Porcini (or Cep as it is also known) safe to eat simply the best!:
This is an ideal mushroom for beginners to collect as it is easy to indentify. Make sure you always consult more than one reference guide and have a thorough understanding of the poisonous varieties
Buy one of these books on Identifying and Cooking Wild Mushrooms
Amanita ocreata is not a British species - you are probably referring to A.virosa or verna.
Please amend the advert referring to the late Peter Jordan (died of bowel cancer last year) as the country's 'leading mycologist'.
1. Peter was a forager, not a forayer, and definitely was NO MYCOLOGIST, let alone a leading mycologist !
2. Peter was totally irresponsible, allowing people on his forages to pick the whole wood bare.
3. Peter was good at finding edible fungi, but not good at identifying them correctly.
4. As County fungi recorder for Suffolk, I had to reject half of his records for a whole variety of reasons.
5. The REAL mycologist - Michael Jordan, had to correct many mistakes in Peters books during proof reading.
I always bring "The National Audubon Society Field Guide for Mushrooms of North America", even when foraging in another country. Author Gary Lincoff has the fungi organized by type (Chanterelles, Boletes, gilled, shelf, coral,etc) and further organizes the gilled mushrooms according to gill attachment ( free, attached, descending, etc) It makes identifying the mushroom by family very easy and then one may cross reference with a guide book specific to the area in which you are foraging. Got annoyed by other countries guidebooks as one needed to page through nearly every mushroom to find a drawing, and then characteristics that match up. The Lincoff guide also has nice pictures and a section dividing fungi by spore print color. Very helpful! Happy hunting!
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Wild Mushroom Identification - Recommended Books for All Skill Levels: Every amateur mycologist should have a decent library of books, here are the top five books I highly recommend for wild mushroom identification:
Never eat any wild mushroom without multiple sources of positive identification - do not eat any wild mushrooms just from viewing this website. SOME WILD MUSHROOMS CAN KILL. You use this content at your own risk, we are not responsible for content on this site. BY READING CONTENT OR POSTING CONTENT YOU ACCEPT THESE TERMS.