What Are Some Tips for Picking Mushrooms?


Quick Answer

The most important tip for picking mushrooms is learning how to identify edible mushrooms because several edible species have poisonous look-alikes. Other tips including storing different kinds of mushrooms separately and keeping samples of those eaten for analysis in case of poisoning.

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What Are Some Tips for Picking Mushrooms?
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Full Answer

The single most important factor in gathering wild mushrooms is identifying them correctly, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. To become educated, attend workshops, collect and practice identifying the same species over and over, show the mushrooms to experts, and use more than one field guide.

Once an individual is sure that he can reliably identify edible mushrooms, he may start collecting in earnest. The tools needed include a sharp knife, a flat-bottomed wooden basket, a roll of waxed paper and a notebook to keep a log. A GPS receiver can help find the same harvesting spot again, and use the camera in a smartphone to take pictures of specimens.

Make sure to wrap different species of mushrooms in wax paper before placing them in the basket. This prevents cross contamination in the event of a mistaken ID. Make sure to collect the base and root of the mushroom as well, because in order to make identification, oftentimes the whole mushroom is needed.

Log entries should include what medium the mushroom is growing in such as soil or on a tree stump, whether it’s a single mushroom or growing in a cluster, colors and textures of all parts, and how it smells.

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