Q1: What is this mushroom?
A: Identification of a mushroom requires education. Our organization strives to provide our members with the tools and understanding of the key characteristics that make each mushroom identifiable.
We can not ID or recommend edibility or other uses based on a photo and/or description. Additionally for legal reasons we will not ID 'magic' mushrooms. We will attempt to ID a fungi, in person, at one of our monthly meetings or if you are a member on a foray.
Q2: Is this mushroom edible?
A: Once you have identified a mushroom, you will be able to determine its edibility. As with any new food, it is recommended that you only consume a small amount of any mushroom the first time you eat it. Some people have unpleasant reactions to even choice edibles. Also note that wild mushrooms can concentrate environmental poisons such as pesticides or heavy metals. Avoid collecting mushrooms in lawns, parks, orchards or road-side unless you know how the land has been treated.
Q3: How do I learn to gather mushrooms?
A: The best way to learn to gather mushrooms is in the company of an experienced mushroom hunter. Through our club you will have the opportunity to learn from folks who have hunted the local edible mushrooms for years.
Q4: When & where are your meetings?
A: Meetings are usually the 3rd Thursday of the month at the Chico Alliance Church, 3670 Chico Way NW Bremerton, WA.
Q5: When & where are your classes & forays?
A: Our calendar shows upcoming classes & forays.
Q6: Who can join your forays?
A: Anyone who has a fascination of the fungi kingdom and is a club member.
Q7: Do you require a release for your forays?
A: Yes. Your foray leader will provide one to sign before you head out.
Q8: What are the laws regarding personal mushroom harvesting?
A: We have a page that covers the mushroom harvest laws for most of the public lands we use.
Q8: What is a good beginners mushrooming book?
A: There are many mushroom field guides available. You want to make sure that you are getting a guide that will cover mushrooms in your region - one that is not too basic or technical for your level of mycological understanding and is specifically focused towards you interests.
A few recommendations are:
- Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest by Joe Ammirati & Steve Trudell
- All the Rain Promises, and More by David Aurora
- National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms
- Mushrooms Demystified by David Aurora
Q10: What do I need to gather mushrooms / go on a foray?
A: A good sturdy wicker basket or mesh bag for collecting, a knife for harvesting, and a brush for cleaning are the bare essentials. We always require a loud signal whistle on our forays and during hunting season on public lands we require a hunters orange vest for safety. Suitable clothing and footwear are strongly suggested. Food and water are helpful for our all-day forays. Other things you might consider are a walking stick (used also to part the undergrowth), a compass or GPS, a FRS radio, and an emergency kit.
Q11: What are some basic mushrooming rules?
A: When in doubt, throw it out! If you aren't 100% positive on the identification of a mushroom, don't risk eating it. As the saying goes "There are old mush roomers and there are bold mushroomers, but there are no old and bold mushroomers."
Q12: How do I cook/preserve/store my mushrooms?
A: There are many ways to prepare mushroom dishes. At our monthly meetings we have a library that offers a variety of cookbooks for members to check out. We also have
book sales where members can acquire mushroom books at a discounted membership rate.
One of the best ways to enjoy your mushrooms is to slice or chop them, then saute them in butter over medium to medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked but still tender. Note: always try a small sample (2-4 T.) of a new mushroom to test for sensitivities!
There are six
basic ways mushrooms are preserved; refrigeration, freezing, pickling,
canning, drying, and salting. Each one has its advantages & disadvantages, but what is suitable for one kind of mushroom may not
be correct for another.
Q13: Did my dog eat a poisonous mushroom?
A: Most times the mushroom ingested cannot be positively identified. All
mushroom ingestion should be taken seriously. Symptoms can range from mild vomiting
and diarrhea to severe digestion problems to liver failure.
Remove any remaining pieces from his mouth. Call your vet. Be sure to save
the specimen for identification.
Q14: Do hallucinogenic mushrooms grow around here?
Q15: What good are mushrooms?
A: The addition of mushrooms can turn a meal into a culinary delight.
Mushrooms impart an earthy, sometimes meaty, flavor to foods. They are also high
in protein and B vitamins, rich in anti-oxidants, and are fat and cholesterol
Some mushrooms have proven to be anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-cancerous.
Mushrooms are the recyclers of our environment. Some are decay organisms,
breaking down plants into organic debris, and recycling essential nutrients.
Q16: Why are we fascinated with mushrooms?
A: It is difficult to narrow down what is it about mushrooms that fascinates us to just one specific attribute. Mushrooms posses a mysterious almost magical allure. From their use in artist renditions associating them with mythical creatures such as gnomes and faeries, to the belief that the use of the sacred mushroom allowed shamans to meditate with the gods. Something about their shape, their wide array of colors, the way they seem to appear in the forest out of no where or the texture of their fleshy fruiting bodies draws us to them in a seemingly hypnotic way. Perhaps it is a subconscious connection to the fact that they are more closely genetically related to us than they are to the inhabitants of the plant kingdom.