How To Tell If A Mushroom Is Safe To Eat

  1. GPS1504
    When out and about, it is natural to see mushrooms from time to time, and I don't mean in the produce section of your local grocer. Mushrooms grow wild, and while some are edible, some are not. Here's some information on how to tell which ones are safe and which ones to avoid. Remember, some mushrooms can make you become very ill or possibly even kill you, so if you are not absolutely certain you've successfully identified a type of mushroom, do not risk eating it!

    The three most dangerous groups of mushrooms are Amanitas, False Morels, and LBMs ("little brown mushrooms").

    Amanitas start off as an oblong button atop a thin stem that breaks upon as it grows. When fully developed, they look similar to inverted umbrellas with the appearance of white gills on the underside. Present is a moveable ring on the stem as well as a section at the base of the stem that resembles a pouch. The tops of these mushroom are parasol-shaped and are responsible for 90% of deaths related to mushroom consumption. They may take the colors of white, yellow, red, or brown. Should you have any doubts about the toxic nature of these mushrooms, keep in mind that one of the members of this family is named the destroying angel...enough said.

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    False morels have an irregular look to them and the best comparison would be to simply state that they look like brains. They appear sunken inward and their surface has lobes, just as a brain would, as well as flaps and wrinkles. Do not confuse these with True Morels, which have an outward bulge; a good way to remember this is that the TRUTH will get you OUT of trouble. False morels may exhibit the colors of black, brown, white, gray, or red. Some people have eaten them and lived to tell the tale, but it is safest to consider them toxic and move on as the preparation of these mushrooms is wherein the ability to remain safe while eating them lies.

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    LBMs is a category filled with hundreds of mushrooms that are basically little and brown. They can vary in color from tan to brown and have the general appearance of a typical mushroom. Many are poisonous, even deadly, so keeping your distance is the safest bet. This is also the category into which the hallucinogenic mushrooms fall. Many of these mushrooms are so similar in appearance that even skilled researchers struggle to tell them apart, so avoid tempting fate and consuming them as they may look innocent but are far from it.

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    Remember that symptoms of mushroom poisoning can take up to 12 hours or more to appear and may seem to vanish only to return several days later. There is no antidote for mushroom poisoning. The best you can hope for is treatment for the damage incurred by eating toxic mushrooms, and with that in mind the only logical conclusion is that it is safer to avoid eating the natives for fear you might wind up in the ground pushing them up.

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