When it comes to mushroom hunting, you want to make sure that you have what you need on hand to get the job done well and safely.
This article is a beginner’s guide to mushroom hunting. It contains basic knowledge about distinguishing poisonous mushrooms from edible ones.
In addition, this article also includes the necessary traits a mushroom hunter should have when foraging for mushrooms.
What a Mushroom Hunter Should Know
One of the key traits to finding mushrooms is to learn about them. There are two varieties – poisonous and edible. You have to distinguish one from the other for you to succeed.
You definitely want to know about the edible ones, but you should also know about the poisonous ones just as much. Neglecting to recognize the toxic ones means gambling your life on the hunt.
There are literally thousands of types of poisonous mushroom species out there. The majority of them taste bitter, a great first indicator to distinguish them from edible ones.
If you do happen to chomp on a bitter mushroom, spit it out, wash your mouth, and then immediately phone your local poison control.
The dangerous part about poisonous mushrooms, aside from their toxicity, is that not all of them taste bad.
Surprisingly, some taste quite good. Your best bet to recognizing the difference would be to judge the mushroom’s appearance and behavior.
For example, Death Caps are poisonous mushrooms that you commonly find almost anywhere, be it in the middle of the city or in the middle of the forest. They have a thin white stalk and round silver cap.
Another poisonous mushroom variety worth mentioning are Destroying Angels. These are even more dangerous than Death Caps. They have a solid white cap with gills, as well as a narrow white stem.
To learn more about these poisonous mushrooms, check out this guide: 4 Common Poisonous Mushrooms You Need to Know
When you do come across an edible mushroom, prepare to feel a real sense of pride and joy.
Depending on the kind, you can eat them raw or cooked once collected. You might even find some rare kinds that you can sell for a very good price, such as truffles.
Some of the common mushrooms that are quite popular include White Buttons, Morels, Creminis, Portobellos, and Truffles.
One thing to note is that White Buttons, Portobellos, and Creminis are of the same species. But, they are at different stages in their growing process.
So, if you are looking for Portobellos and instead find White buttons , simply give them a little more growing time before picking them.
Useful Qualities of a Mushroom Hunter
Obviously, you don’t need a license to be a mushroom hunter in most countries, but it does help to have the qualities as if you did. Foraging for mushrooms can be a very fun hobby, but it can also be just as challenging.
After all, mushrooms are quite small. You might find them in hard to reach places, such as hiding in shrubs, under logs, or behind bushes.
Quality #1: Obtain knowledge
The first thing that you should acquire as a mushroom hunter is knowledge about mushrooms, perhaps which is why you’re reading this article.
You could also check out the many varieties of mushroom foraging manuals on Amazon for more resources.
Before you get out and start hunting though, you’ll want to know what mushrooms are and what they look like. It is also important to discover where and when they grow.
If you’re looking for morels, for example, they naturally grow on or near dead trees during the springtime or in cold areas.
Quality #2: Exercise patience
Of course, nobody can be an instant expert on all the different types of mushrooms or every specific detail about them.
A great way to exercise patience while foraging is to have the right tools with you.
Amazon has some great listings of mushroom hunting baskets to help you feel more lightweight and comfortable while on the search.
A perfect way to learn more about the different varieties is to recognize mushrooms together with their nasty counterparts. Use the popular morel and its poisonous cousin the false morel as an example.
They look almost identical to each other with a few key differences. The only real way to tell them apart is cutting them open. Morels are hollow inside whereas false morels aren’t.
Another great example is Chanterelles and Jack O’Lantern mushrooms, which also look alike. However, the edible Chanterelles don’t grow in clusters, whereas Jack O’Lanterns do.
Having the right knowledge and patience will help you prevent making costly mistakes.
Quality #3: Be Persistent
Persistence is a key attribute when it comes to mushroom hunting. Trying to learn all of the different types of mushrooms might feel too overwhelming for some. Persistence will keep you learning a little more every time you head out for another hunt.
Others may give up on the searching part because the forest is just too vast to find the right mushroom.
Just like patience, specific tools will help you with persistence as well.
You might find some mushrooms hard to pull out or growing in hard-to-reach places. Carrying a good-quality mushroom foraging knife is one way to always be prepared.
Maintaining a positive attitude and persisting through the early stages of your new hobby will ultimately lead you to a new and exciting world of mushroom hunting.
This article will serve as a beginner’s guide to mushroom foraging for anyone keen to experience this exciting pastime.
Furthermore, make sure to have a mushroom foraging kit with you. Make your mushroom hunting hobby both fun and effective.