Thursday, July 30, 2009

Basket Pic July 30, 2009

Went into the forest with my son to pick some mushrooms. I had picked a few the previous evening, so I knew the pickings were good. High summer means bugs, so it is best to harvest soon after a rain. The basket contains Golden Chanterelles, and various Boletes and Lactarius. The day before included what you see here, plus some Beefsteak Polypore. I need to cook and eat these tonight, as tomorrow we're headed to coastal North Carolina. In NC we'll be digging clams and netting shrimp. Summer is bountiful.


Anonymous said...

How can you be so sure???? When I lived in Germany people did this as well. But now its very very scary.

riburr said...

You never eat a mushroom you don't know to be safely edible. The mushrooms pictured in the basket are edible, most are delicious. I know this from experience and research.

Some of the individual mushrooms shown (Boletes) I had no experience with. But, as a family they are generally recognized as safe, with only a very few species being slightly poisonous. And, the ones in the basket do not share characteristics with the poisonous few.

Confidence to distinguish safe from harmful comes with experience. Experience also instructs when to exercise caution. After several years of careful foraging and sampling you *know* what is safe and what is not. If there is any question at all about a mushroom's safety, you don't eat it.

Collecting mushrooms for the kitchen table is regionally specific. The knowledge you have from collecting mushrooms in Germany doesn't apply to the mushrooms you find in Virginia. People have been sickened or killed by confusing mushrooms known to be safe in one country with a similar-looking poisonous species in another country or region.

It may take several years practice before you can confidently collect safe mushrooms for the kitchen. Some people never venture beyond easily identified Morels, if they go that far.

It helps if you live in an area where mushrooms are plentiful. Practice comes easily when I can walk out the front door and pick many, many different species from my yard.