Edibility Rules

When you are eating wild mushrooms, and especially when you are trying a species for the first time, here are some guidelines to follow. Different publications list different "rules"; as you become more experienced you will develop your own. Just remember that it is better to be too safe than not safe enough. By all means, don't let these rules scare you. They technically should be followed with all foods, but for some reason we generally don't pay much attention to them in our normal diets.

  1. Don't eat anything if you aren't sure of its identification. Before you eat a new species that you have keyed out, try to compare it with a confirmed specimen of that species, or get your identification confirmed by an experienced mushroomer. Likewise, if someone tells you a mushroom is edible, make sure it fits book descriptions of that species.

  2. When trying a species for the first time, eat only a small amount. The safest method for most mushrooms is to saute a few small pieces and eat them by themselves or with a bit of a staple such as bread or rice. Wait a day before trying more. Like all foods, mushrooms should generally be eaten in moderation.

  3. When trying a species for the first time, always cook it. Most species of mushrooms are more digestible when cooked or dried.

  4. Never mix two species that you haven't eaten before. If you have an allergic reaction, you won't know which species caused it.

  5. Don't eat rotten mushrooms. Most "mushroom poisoning" cases are actually food poisoning.

  6. If you have any doubt that a mushroom is edible, don't eat it! If you think you're going to get sick, you probably will convince your body that it should get sick.