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).
All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms
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:
100 Edible Mushrooms
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:
Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World
Paul Stamets is pretty much the final word on mushrooms. A must-have book that will blow your mind.
Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation
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.
Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms
This is a must-have how-to guide for anyone that wants to grow their own mushrooms. Definitive. Get it.
Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada
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!
What mushrooms grow wild or are able to be farmed in SW Florida?
I’m not exactly sure… the varieties seem to drop as you head further south in the state. The book “Mushrooms of Florida” is helpful, though.
Also, I know you can grow oysters down there, no problem.
I have two of the books you show already, and a couple more. I also use a microscope to help in ID as well.
I belong to Central PA Mushroom Club and have learned from many experts.
I just watched you video and read your article on good and bad “Boletes”. I was instructed by my friends in the club to stay away from blue when hunting boletes. I have found several big Kings Boletes I think the term is ” Boltecus Edulus in my travels close to my home.I appreciated your article very much , keep up the good work.
Thank you very much, Samuel. Great to hear you’re learning. I wish there were a local club here I could join. All the best. -David The Good
There is a regional mycological society that may be able to direct you to one in your area:
Gulf State Mycological Society
Mushroom The Journal – http://www.mushroomthejournal.com
North American Mycological Society – http://www.namyco.org
Kyle from the upper left coast
My wife and I are moving from Portland Oregon – Gods mushroom country – to Ft. Pierce, Fl. Next month. We’ve gathered hundreds of pounds of mushrooms here and hope to find some foraging in south Fl. I’ll order the Florida book to go into our library, but really want to learn the seasons, and the environments in Fl. That are conducive to mycology. Don
That is a tough move for a mushroom hunter!
Ft. Pierce isn’t the best because of its more tropical climate, but you can find boletes, some small puffballs and oysters here and there.
Most of my foraging was in North Florida and the best time of the year for hunting (often the only time) was September/October in a rainy year. Too hot during the summer, too dry most winters.
Fortunately, there are a lot of other wild edibles worth hunting in Florida, like the excellent winged yam, hog plums and smilax shoots.
Are you familiar with ‘Common Florida Mushrooms’ by James Kimbrough. From what the limited reviews I can find it looks like a great resource for Florida mushroom hunters. I’m going to pick it up soon and check it out.
Yes – I own that one. It’s very good for the state of Florida. Thank you, Charles.
Any recommended readings on tropical mushrooms / Asia that we , on this part of the world could check out? 🙂
For those of us in the Northeast, I suggest adding “Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada” by David L. Spahr
This beautifully illustrated guidebook provides specific, easy-to-understand information on finding, collecting, identifying, and preparing the safer and more common edible and medicinal mushroom species of New England and Eastern Canada. Author David Spahr, a trained commercial photographer, here combines his mycological expertise and photographic skill to produce an attractive and detailed overview of his subject. Based on decades of practical experience and research, the book is written in a clear and forthright style that avoids the dry, generic descriptions of most field guides. Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada also provides useful ideas for cooking mushrooms. Rather than simply providing recipes, the book discusses the cooking characteristics of each variety, with advice about matching species with appropriate foods. Many mushrooms contain unique medicinal components for boosting the immune system to fight cancer, HIV, and other diseases, and Spahr offers practical and prudent guidelines for exploration of this rapidly emerging area of alternative therapeutic practice.
Thank you, Keith! Sounds like a very good one.
I see a couple books on here that I would highly recommend. Tradd Cotter’s mushroom farming book and the Audubon Society Field guide are both good reads. The Audubon Society book is what I carry for field identification. I’m going to be reading your book Mycelium Running. As someone who lives near the Youghiogheny river I’ve seen what acid mine runoff can do. Do you know of any particular mushroom that absorb iron in large amounts?
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The Audubon book should be updated sometime in the next century…my somewhat older one had wrong IDs, vastly different pictures for the same mushroom (but with different names) in 2 different parts of the book, flat wrong info on quite a few, and other problems. The only good thing about it is that you can carry it when you go hunting – but why would you.
[…] September are good times to go hunting for mushrooms. And don’t forget to bring along some good mushroom hunting guides. I spent a lot of time reading and researching before I ate my first wild […]
Heard a corny joke by a guy named brian vazily about mushrooms. Why are mushrooms the life of the party. they are fun-gi’s.