This is my list of the best mushroom foraging books, plus a few related books on cultivation and the wonderful world of fungi. Enjoy!
Below are some of the ones I’ve been enjoying thus far, along with their Amazon links (remember, if you decide to buy anything on Amazon… click through one of my links and I’ll make a few pennies).
Even if you don’t live on the west coast, this book is worth buying just because David Arora is brilliant and hilarious.
You wouldn’t think that a mushroom guide would be funny, but this one is a scream. I was laughing out loud and waking my wife up.
Next is a more in-depth book from Arora that’s a must-have for serious wild mushroom aficionados.
Mushrooms Demystified is a hefty book with a ton of information in it. Very worth having, if somewhat unwieldy. It’s also packed with snarky jokes and visual gags, despite its scientific pedigree. I really like David Arora’s writing and endless enthusiasm.
For the person just interested in getting started with edible mushrooms, here’s another option:
Micheal Kuo isn’t nearly as fun as David Arora and some across as a little persnickety after the wild exuberance of “All That the Rain Promises,” however, 100 Edible Mushrooms is in-depth and thoughtful, plus it’s easier to dive into than a tome such as Mushrooms Demystified. It also has recipes. I own it and have been enjoying picking my way through it.
Now if you’re ready to hit the field, I’ve found this guide to be the best so far:
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms (National Audubon Society Field Guides)
This guide was actually written by the brilliant mushroom hunter Gary Lincoff and the expertise shines through. It’s well-organized and contains excellent photographs in color, unlike the black and white of most of the photos in Mushrooms Demystified. Gary Lincoff also wrote this book, which I own as well:
The Complete Mushroom Hunter: An Illustrated Guide to Finding, Harvesting, and Enjoying Wild Mushrooms
The Complete Mushroom Hunter will fill you with excitement for the hunt. It was the first book I read after Paul Stamet’s must-read book Mycellium Running and it really pushed me out the door.
Speaking of Paul Stamets, here’s a link to his book:
Paul Stamets is pretty much the final word on mushrooms. A must-have book that will blow your mind.
I haven’t yet read this book yet but it comes highly recommended. I’ve seen Tradd Cotter’s videos on YouTube and I’m a fan.
This is a must-have how-to guide for anyone that wants to grow their own mushrooms. Definitive. Get it.
This book by David L Spahr was recommended to me as an excellent guide for those of you in the Northeast. I have not read it, but the reviews are excellent.
Finally, if you’re in Florida, don’t forget to get a copy of Common Florida Mushrooms from the UF bookstore!
I’m feeling rich – in the past I wasn’t able to afford to eat as many mushrooms as I’d like… yet they’ve been growing under my feet all the time. I was just too scared to eat wild mushrooms.
Armed with lots of reading material and guides I’m no longer afraid – and it’s not like I’m taking risks! None of the species I’ve eaten has any dangerous lookalikes that can’t be weeded out with a cursory examination of the mushroom in question.
Grab some books and give it a go yourself!