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How To Eat Mushrooms From The Wild Without Getting Sick

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In the spring the woods are usually covered with these St George mushroomsMy love for eating mushroom dates back to my childhood, when foraging for wild mushrooms in the woods bordering my granny’s countryside home was my favorite pass time. However, if you want to eat mushrooms, wild mushrooms in particular there are certain rules you need to follow to ensure that you don’t harm yourself in anyways. Here I have enlisted a few guidelines that you need to remember while hunting for wild mushrooms:


 


• There are no rule of thumb methods to differentiate edible mushrooms from wild mushrooms; the only way to identify edible mushrooms is to match its characteristics (color, smell, spores, shape, etc.) with already documented species. 


• Feeding the mushrooms to animals to check if they are poisonous is not a good idea either. Firstly, it is not fair to use an innocent animal for this purpose, and second, animals can at times digest and tolerate certain species of mushrooms that humans cannot.


• When in doubt choose to avoid the particular variety of mushroom than risk getting poisoned.Be very careful when foraging for wild mushrooms, certain mushrooms like the amanita can be fatally poisonous


• Never allow children and inexperienced collectors to forage for mushrooms, if they do, keep them separately, and process them for consumption only after thorough identification.


• Always pick fresh mushrooms; mushrooms past their prime can be a virtual store house of maggots and other germs. 


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Properly preparing the mushrooms is as important as picking the right mushroom, follow these tips to prepare mushrooms: 


 


• Use the mushrooms immediately after picking; wild mushrooms are highly susceptible to spoilage and can get covered with maggots in no time. 


 


• Clean the mushroom using a fine toothbrush or a mushroom brush. To prevent sogginess use as little water as possible while cleaning the mushrooms. Cut and discard any tough or spoilt parts of the mushroom.


 


• Though store bought mushrooms can be eaten raw, it is not advisable to eat wild mushrooms raw. Cooking not only destroys the toxins (if any), but also kills the germs that are invariably present on wild mushrooms.


 


• The cooking technique used to prepare mushroom will depend upon the type of mushroom. Firm mushrooms with low water content can be sautéed, baked, or used in stir fries; however mushrooms with high water content are not good contenders for sautéing, they are better used in soups or sauces. Never overcook mushrooms; this will turn them into an undesirable mess.


 


• If experimenting with a new type of mushroom, retain one uncooked sample of the wild mushroom you have eaten. This way, in case of poisoning, you will have a mushroom specimen for the doctors to identify and treat you better.


 


So this is how you prepare and eat wild mushrooms without harming yourself. Do visit this link for further information on how to identify edible wild mushrooms. Mushroom is a great source of nutrition, and probably one of the richest sources of protein in a vegetarian diet, for further information on the health benefits of mushrooms, do read this article on mushroom nutrition


Image credits: google.com

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