Wild fall mushrooms
Most mushroom hunters are well-aware of when the morels are out. But spring isn't the only mushroom season. You'll find even more kinds of edible fungi in the fall.
"Sulfur shelf" Photo courtesy AmericanMushrooms.com
"Shaggy mane" Photo courtesy AmericanMushrooms.com
"Giant puffball" Photo courtesy AmericanMushrooms.com
The three pictures you see at the left are typical edible fall mushrooms. Read the full story below or listen to the radio mp3.
Radio interview source: David Fischer, Mycologist
Fall is a great time to take a walk in the woods and look for edible mushrooms.
David Fischer is a mycologist, and owner of AmericanMushrooms.com. He says a popular fungus to seek out is the Puffball, which looks like a large, round, white ball.
"They're just so distinctive," he says. "You find one of these things, and you often might think that you've spotted a big white rock, or perhaps a forgotten volleyball. If you slice through it, it's just solid, white flesh inside and growing on the ground. Those traits make that mushroom a very difficult mushroom to confuse with something else that could make you sick."
The Sulfur Shelf, also known as Chicken of the Woods, is a large, orange-colored, shelf-like mushroom. Fischer says when found growing on dead oak trees, it's safe to eat. However, it may cause gastrointestinal problems if found on a different tree species.
Not all delicacies are found in the woods. The Shaggy Mane is common on lawns. Its cap has a bullet-like shape, and is covered with delicate, white scales. It grows 4-to-6 inches tall.
It's extremely important to learn which mushrooms are safe to eat and those which are not. There's no room for error, so don't pick anything unless you are 100% sure of what it is. Fischer recommends starting out with an experienced hunter, a club, or a trusted book.
He also warns that your bounty must always be cooked before eaten.
"There are a lot of mushrooms including the Sulfur Shelf and the Puffball that if you were to just slice it, or chop it, and put it raw in a salad, your dinner guests would not be pleased within a couple of hours," says Fischer.
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