Basic Mushroom Safety

Here are some things you should know about if you don’t already. Eating wild mushrooms is a wonderful way to realize the importance of knowledge. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing however. 

Mushroom ID

Knowing without a doubt the identity of the mushroom you have chosen to eat is the only way to stay safe. Mushrooms can be safely identified using the many resources available to you online and in books and by joining a club such as this one with real field trips. Still, if you doubt your identification, the anxiety of not being sure can make you feel sick anyway, so it isn’t worth the trouble. There will be other seasons! This site is not for the purpose of identifying edibles.The identification section is a general guide to mushrooms you might find within an hour or two of Bend and definitely not proof of edibility of any fungi. With name changes and DNA work, the names of mushrooms often change. Always use more than one tool and check out other resource links.

Don’t Get Lost!

The most dangerous part of mushroom hunting is not eating toxic mushrooms; it’s getting lost.  It is not uncommon each year for us to hear of a Pacific Northwest mushroom hunter lost for many days and sometimes never found. Use a GPS if you go alone. Always carry a whistle. Take all your safety stuff in the backpack even when you are just jumping in and out of the car every mile or so to explore new sites. Just get in the habit and it won’t seem like a burden.

First Aid

Newly suggested additions to a good first aid kit involve treatment for wasp stings such as Benadryl (antihistamine,) meat tenderizer (mixed with water to a paste diffuses the toxin from a sting,) and instant ice packs in your car. Some of our club members have suffered severe stings by yellow jackets in the fall by stepping into a nest. RUN! They will follow you but not forever.

Keep it Fresh!

Do NOT eat spoiled mushrooms. When you finally find that Porcini for the first time and you’re sure of the ID and you want to eat it, don’t wait for days before cooking it. This happens too often because life is busy. Cook, dry or prepare your edible mushrooms in some way soon after finding them.  If they are spoiling, throw them out!  

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