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Is Healthy (or Safe) to Eat Wild Mushrooms?

by | Nov 10, 2021 | Fantastic Food | 0 comments

It seems to be the time of year when lots of news reports and blogs talk about how much people like to eat wild mushrooms.  This always gives me visions of either taking one bite out of my harvest and dying a painful, gurgling poisoned death, or shrinking into a tiny little Alice in Wonderland and looking for a tiny door to make my escape.  As fun as that second option could potentially be, with the way the world has been for the last year and a half, I’d really rather a more normal mealtime experience.

Should I Try to Eat Wild Mushrooms?

So that’s the question I’ve been asking myself. Should I even try to eat wild mushrooms?  People say that they’re delicious far beyond what I’d ever find in a grocery store.  But are they worth what I feel is a risk?

To be clear, I do understand that you can eat wild mushrooms perfectly safely when they’re selected by an expert.  I am not at all implying that I should go wandering in the woods and eat whatever I can discover there.  There are very important rules to follow to know an edible variety from a poisonous one.

Being able to identify different varieties of fungi take a lot of skill and experience. This is particularly true because there are some sneaky forms that look just like the good guys but that will definitely cause some harm if consumed.  So, I really do want to clarify here that as I ask myself if I should start to eat wild mushrooms, it’s whether I should be trying options selected by experts, not whether I should head outside to begin foraging.

What’s the Benefit?

People who eat wild mushrooms will tell you that the flavor profile of the varieties they select goes far beyond what those button and cremini mushrooms from the grocery store can provide (though I do love those too).  Also, they offer a range of additional nutritional or even medicinal benefits (in the case of chaga mushrooms, for example).

Still, even with all those great benefits, I feel hesitant to try them. I’ve been told for so long that the kinds that grow in the lawn or in the woods are dangerous that I’ve got it programmed into me.  So even though a great restaurant near me sells dishes made with the fungi that the chef himself collects that morning, I still feel ookie about some fictional risk I have built up in my head.

What do you think?  Should I try to eat wild mushrooms? Is it good for me? Is it even safe?

Let me know on Twitter or Facebook!

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