This is where I’ll be posting all of my individual pages on different types of edible mushrooms.
My normal mushrooming journal (with edibles and inedibles) will be posted through the standard blog interface, so use the “Mushroom” pulldown menu at the top to view them.
I only write articles about mushrooms that I have personally encountered, never something I don’t have direct experience with (and have personally taken pictures of), so this list will take some time to grow. I will also not list good edibles that are difficult to discern in the field. This list is only for relatively easy species to positively identify by sight.
A Word of Caution:
If you’re a budding wild mushroom enthusiast whose interest in wild mushrooms is culinary in nature, I strongly suggest that you take your time and learn with a seasoned mycologist before heading out into the wild, picking some specimens and frying them up to eat.
Let me be clear: Yes, hunting wild mushrooms is a fairly safe practice. Far fewer people get sick and die from mushrooms in a year than berries or other plants.
In the same vein, driving a car is a fairly safe practice. The State, however, requires that you take classes, learn the laws and pass tests with experience behind the wheel (chaperoned by an experienced driver) before letting you loose on the roads.
The State doesn’t require such tests for mushroom hunters.
It is your responsibility to educate yourself!
The vast majority of fatal mushroom poisonings are examples of when people simply don’t do their homework. They don’t take the time to compare macro features, check the color of the spore print, or peek at it under the microscope. Instead they think “hey this looks good, and it smells good, so it’s probably safe.”
WRONG. Wrong wrong wrong. Some of the most deadly mushrooms in NJ (like the Amanitas) smell and taste delicious. How do we know this? That is what people who have died from them have reported in the few days of reprieve they had before their internal organs gave out.
As a result remember “When in doubt. Throw it out.” Be rigorous in your identification efforts and humble enough to pass on trying a mushroom variety that you’re even 80% or 90% sure of. You need to be 99%-100% sure, or you might end up 100% in trouble. 🙂
The Immigrant Problem
The biggest danger is from immigrants who come to NJ from other countries or parts of the US, as NJ’s mycology is rather unique. Many edibles from overseas or across the plains look similar to poisonous varieties here, and every so often in the news we find stories like this:
3 Franklin residents gravely ill from eating wild mushrooms (2008)
The information here in my journal is purely for my own purposes, and I cannot take responsibility for how it is used or relied upon.
For reference, the number for Poison Control is: 1-800-222-1222