Since I’ve started branching out into fungi identification, I think it’s a good idea to start cataloging some of my experiences with wild foraging for edible mushrooms.
Hopefully what I write will be helpful. And hopefully no one dies.
Perhaps in the future, once I’ve become significantly more experienced at hunting down tasty fungal bounty, I’ll be able to do a series of “Survival Mushroom Profiles” similar to my Survival Plant Profiles.
For now, I’ll just tell you where I found edible mushrooms, how I identified them, and how they tasted.
(FYI: If for some reason this blog ceases unexpectedly, it means I screwed up on an ID.)
A couple of weeks ago I was foraging in the same empty lot where I discovered chanterelles and Lactarius indigo mushrooms. While there I came across an edible mushroom I only knew from photos – the “Old Man of the Woods:”
It’s a pretty easy mushroom to spot for beginners. It’s flaky and fluffy and has pores beneath the cap – NOT gills. If it has gills, you have something else and it may be poisonous.
|The Old Man of the Woods lacks gills. My thumb looks ugly.|
Slice or damage the flesh of an Old Man of the Woods and it will turn pink and eventually fade to black.
As for flavor, it’s decent. It tastes pretty much like a typical store-bought button mushroom to my unpolished palate. Sauteed in butter it’s definitely good.
I'm not comfortable with wild mushrooms, so I'll leave that up to you and the other experts. I do have a question for you; did you hit your thumb with a hammer?
I don't blame you. I was scared of eating wild mushrooms for most of my life until I discovered that most mushrooms won't kill you and that some with certain characteristics will never do you much more harm than an upset stomach if you pick wrong.
As for my thumb: I was drilling holes in PVC elbows with a drill press. One of them caught and yanked away from me, somehow smacking my thumb really good in the process. I probably couldn't repeat the injury if I tried!
I ate my first foraged mushroom tonight- a puffball the size of a tennis ball I found in my front yard. Isn't this fun?
You're freaking awesome.
David… I’ve always been facinated with mushrooms…. But never really pushed myself….. i found an Old man of The Woods today in my yard. I’m going to slice it up and put it on the grill… To the chagrin of my family.
Found my first one today.
Had no idea what it was but it didn’t look deadly so I kept it. When it started turning black after I cut it open I started looking for help to make sure it really wasn’t.
And here I am.
Thanks for helping me not poison myself.
I am afraid what you have here in the photos is NOT an Old Man of the Woods. I have picked and eaten them. Their colors are not in the brown shades, but rather black and whites. The on the underside of the cap are dark gray to black. The mushroom fairly quickly stains the hands gray/black. Also, when broken or cut, the non-pore flesh of the mushroom is white, then slowly turns salmon pink, then also black. Please take the photos down to prevent others who don’t know from potentially poisoning themselves. Thank you
No, it’s an old man of the woods. The color only looks brownish due to the interior lighting.