Wes's Ratings of Edible Wild Mushrooms

This list is by no means complete. I have sampled quite a number of Oregon's edible mushrooms, but there are others out there that I have not yet found or tasted. People's tastes differ, and what is Ambrosia to one may be insipid to another. Individual collections of mushrooms will differ as well, based on the condition the mushrooms are in and the substrate the mushrooms were growing on. As always, use good judgment when eating any food (mushrooms included). See my Edibility Rules for more help.

Except where obviously inappropriate, I have sauteed the mushrooms in a small amount of butter or margarine. Perhaps different techniques may be better for some mushrooms, but I have found this to be quick and easy. It also allows excess quantities of mushrooms to be easily preserved by freezing. See my mushroom recipes for more.

Rating Scale

**** - Excellent in both flavor and texture; I stop whatever else I'm doing to collect these.

*** - Very good, with distinctive flavor and texture.

** - Worth collecting; may be lacking in flavor or texture, but not both.

* - Novelty mushrooms that I haven't found a good use for yet.

0 - Should be regarded as inedible.

X - I will monitor any future ingestions of these mushrooms, as I experienced minor abdominal discomfort at least once after eating them.

Agaricus augustus (The Prince): **** The familiar mushroom texture combined with a robust taste and sweet aroma. The Prince is good with almost anything, and can be enjoyed at all stages of fruiting body development (provided the maggots don't get there first). Also, A. smithii, a coastal version with different coloration and stature but the same degree of edibility.

Agaricus campestris (Meadow Mushroom): *** Unmistakably mushroomy.

Agaricus subrutilescens : **** The first wild mushroom I collected and ate. More mushroomy than A. campestris; really stands out in soups or on pizza.

Aleuria aurantia (Orange Peel Fungus): * I tried it raw. It had no taste, and the texture didn't really drive me to candy it as some do.

Armillaria mellea (Honey Mushroom): *** I have only tried it a couple of times, but it tastes like a good all-purpose mushroom.

Boletus edulis (King Bolete): **** Excellent dried or sauteed, with a meaty texture. Some collections have a delectably sweet flavor, but a few are bland. Also, B. aereus, very similar in most aspects.

Boletus mirabilis : *** Beautifully colored, with a subtle lemony flavor. Can be a bit slimy when wet, but usually is pleasantly crunchy. I like to eat it with fish.

Cantharellus cibarius (Chanterelle): *** Without a doubt, the most available edible mushroom in Oregon. It has a pleasant, fruity-peppery taste and a texture that is a bit more delicate than Agaricus species. Can be slimy when wet, and flavor is easily overwhelmed (but stands out in some spicy dishes like pizza). Also, C. subalbidus, the White Chanterelle. Some people proclaim it superior to C. cibarius, but to my tastes this depends on how fresh and chunky the individual mushrooms are.

Cantharellus infundibuliformis group (Winter Chanterelle): ** Small and thin, with only a slight chanterelle flavor. Its most interesting attribute is its texture, which is very similar to egg noodles and could be a good substitute for same!

Catathelasma imperialis : ** Beefy in size and texture, with a sharp flavor that some people don't like. I cover it with soy sauce and use it like a matsutake (once I run out of real matsutakes)!

Chroogomphus tomentosus : * I have dried it. It tasted like soft cardboard. I don't know if I'll try it again.

Clitocybe odora : ** Worth collecting just for its licorice smell. I haven't yet found a way to integrate it into dishes, but it is very interesting raw.

Coprinus comatus (Shaggy Mane): *** Excellent texture when breaded and sauteed, or just sauteed. The flavor is subtle but distinctive. Good as an appetizer or in soups.

Dentinum repandum (Hedgehog Mushroom): *** Along with the matsutake, my favorite mushroom to use in MOS (Mushrooms-on-a-Shingle). Specimens that have taken on water give off a liquid when sauteed; I drank some and it tasted like beef broth with an attitude!

Gomphidius subroseus: ** Nothing special, but definitely not "of very poor quality", as some describe it.

Gomphus clavatus (Pig's Ears): *** Essentially like its cousins the chanterelles, with a bit firmer texture and slightly different flavor. The dark color is the main distinction!

Hypomyces lactifluorum (Lobster Mushroom): *** I rarely find these in anything close to edible condition. When I have eaten it (large specimens, probably parasitizing Russula brevipes), the texture was like R. xerampelina; the flavor is unique and probably will not appeal to all, but I like it. The color is an added bonus

Lactarius fragilis (Candy Cap): *** Specimens I found in the Coast Range had a burnt-sugar aftertaste when raw, and a slight maple odor when cooked. The flavor when cooked wasn't very sweet, but was more pleasant than that typical of L. deliciosus or L. rubrilacteus. I guess I should have dried them; the bag I collected them subsequently developed a strong maple odor that is still very evident after two years!

Lactarius rubrilacteus : ** Inconsistent in taste (sometimes bitter, and sometimes tasteless). I really like the crunchy texture. Also L. deliciosus, essentially identical except for the color of the latex.

Leccinum aurantiacum : ***X Dried slices weren't very tasty, but reconstituted well when put into a soup. The only problem is that the first two times I tried this species I got a stomach-ache soon afterward. Coincidence or reaction? This year, I sauteed some without drying, topped a hamburger with them, and they were delicious! Perhaps different collections have different characteristics; more likely, cooking renders them more digestible than does drying.

Leccinum scabrum : *** A good choice for "mushroom chips"; has a nutty flavor when dried.

Lepiota rachodes (Shaggy Parasol): *** Taste a bit more astringent than Agaricus subrutilescens, but also a bit more nutty. Cooks down quite a bit.

Lycoperdon perlatum (Gemmed Puffball): ** Subtle but interesting taste; marshmallow texture. Good with scrambled eggs, which have a similar texture. Also L. foetens and probably L. pyriforme .

Lyophyllum decastes (Fried Chicken Mushroom): *** Not much taste, but a very nice crunch that adds to almost every type of food.

Marasimius oreades (Fairy Ring Mushroom): *** Dry the caps whole, salt them a little, and you have mushroom chips! I haven't yet tried it in soups, which are also supposed to be a strong point of this species.

Pleurocybella porrigens (Angel Wings): ** Tastes good when well-buttered (but what doesn't?) Texture a bit thin for my taste. One collection I tried had an unpleasant aftertaste of fir needles.

Pleurotus ostreatus (Oyster Mushroom): *** A good all-purpose mushroom; meatier than Pleurocybella porrigens.

Pseudohydnum gelatinosum : * Tasteless, but the texture might be good for homebrew gumdrops.

Rozites caperata (Gypsy Mushroom): *** A very strong, unique flavor that lends itself to being added to vegetable mixes.

Russula xerampelina (Shrimp Russula): **** Great texture, aroma, and flavor! The seafood smell isn't apparent to me until I begin cooking the mushrooms. There is always a bit of nuttiness to the flavor, and one collection had a sweet component as well!

Sparassis crispa (Cauliflower Mushroom): ** I have only tried it once, and the specimen wasn't in great condition. The "leaves" were thin and pretty bland.

Stropharia rugoso-annulata : **** I have only tried it twice, but hope to try it again! The flavor was strong, and unlike any other I've ever encountered. I suspect it would go very well with meat and potatoes.

Suillus granulatus group: ** Almost identical to Lycoperdon perlatum, in both texture and flavor.

Tricholoma magnivelare (White Matsutake): **** Some people don't like the flavor, the texture, or the aroma. I appreciate all three, maybe to extremes. I prefer to soften the texture by cooking it covered for a minute or so during the saute. A most un-mushroomlike mushroom! I have heard that it clashes with tomatoes, so you might want to stick with Agaricus campestris in that spaghetti sauce and save your matsutakes for MOS, stir fry, chicken mushroom soup, quiche, or any of the many other dishes it does go well with.

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