Skip to content

6 Wild Mushrooms You Can Eat

 

A mushroom is a fleshy spore-bearing body part of a fungus that generally grows above the ground. Mushrooms are a rich source of vitamin B and copper. Humans consume many mushrooms, but separating edible mushrooms from poisonous ones is very important. Consuming poisonous mushrooms can prove to be fatal. You can identify edible mushrooms by criteria like their aroma, taste, and appearance. Out of the thousands of varieties of mushrooms, about 250 are toxic. You will discover six wild mushrooms that you can forage for or find on a hike.

Chanterelles

Chanterelles are funnel-shaped meaty mushrooms that are white, yellow, and orange in color. They have a fruity smell with a mild pepper-like taste, and they have gill-like ridges present all over the mushroom’s surface. These are the most consumed species among the wild mushrooms. Chanterelles grow in Northern Europe, certain parts of Africa, Asia, and all through North America. They grow in clusters in the mossy coniferous forests and also in mountainous birch forests. They generally grow from July to December and can be mistaken for a false look-alike named Hygrophoropsis Aurantiaca. The actual chanterelle is an egg yellow-colored mushroom, while the false ones are orange in color. They can also be mistaken for the highly toxic Omphalotus Olearius mushroom.

Morels

Morels are wild edible mushrooms that have a honeycomb-like appearance with pits on their cap. Commercial harvest of this species is very prevalent in China, Turkey, Pakistan, North America, and India. Their looks are also known as false morels, which are highly toxic and can cause muscle dystrophy, gastrointestinal upset, and even death. These false morels have a poison called Gyromitrin, which proves to be fatal when these look-alike mushrooms are eaten raw or in large quantities.

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Lion’s Mane mushrooms are also known as Pompom, Hedgehog, or Bearded Tooth mushroom because they have a long spine and resemble a pompom or a lion’s mane. They have medicinal properties and grow in American beech trees. They can even grow on high trees, as high as 40 feet, and their taste is similar to seafood.

Maitake Mushrooms

Maitake mushrooms generally grow on the base of hardwood trees like the Oak. They are also known as Sheep or Ram’s head or the Hen-of-Woods. They grow from late summer to early autumn season. They generally grow in a cluster of greyish brown curls with wavy margins and have milky white stalks with a branch-like structure. They are huge in size and are difficult to consume when fully grown, so people generally harvest them young. Fully grown ones are generally dried and powdered, which you can add to soups or sauces. Maitake mushrooms generally grow in Japan, China, and North America. They even have medicinal properties and grow in the same position for many years. 

Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms are one of the most common wild edible macrofungi species. They grow throughout the year in different subtropical and temperate forests. They also act as decomposers of wood for beech and deciduous trees. They are carnivorous mushrooms and can grow on dead hardwood trees. Their oyster shape cap can grow up to 9.84 inches in size, and they are tan, grey, and dark brown in color. Their flesh is firm and white but varies in thickness. They are high in nutrients, especially vitamin B, potassium, copper, iron, and zinc. They have anti-inflammatory properties and help protect a lot of chronic diseases.

Sulfur Shelf Mushroom

These mushrooms are also known as chicken mushrooms, as they have a meaty flavor and bright yellow or orange color. They are found growing on hardwood trees of North America and Europe and are also widely spread across the Rocky Mountains in the United States. They generally grow during the summer and fall months. They typically grow in shelf-like clusters on trees like Oak, Willow, or Chestnut. They are low in calories and offer a good amount of fiber, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus. You should not eat them raw. 

Conclusion

Though you can consume many wild species of mushrooms safely, many others can prove to be fatal. You must never consume mushrooms like the Death Cap, Conocybe Filaris, Autumn Skullcap, Death Angel, and False Morels. It would help if you never ate wild mushrooms that you are not sure about. It is important to harvest these edible mushrooms with someone who can identify the difference between edible and toxic mushrooms, not to prove fatal for your health. Choose wisely and enjoy the wild mushrooms in your diet.