Did you know there are at least 14,000 different types of mushrooms out there in the world? The large variety of mushrooms found both in the wild, and controlled growing stations, has led to a boom in popularity. Unfortunately, many people are discouraged from foraging mushrooms due to fear of poison. So how do you know whether to eat or avoid a mushroom?
If you want to learn more about the different types of edible mushrooms, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll break down some of the popular species, and give you some advice on how to avoid poisonous species. Let’s get started!
Six Most Popular Types of Edible Mushrooms
To start with, we’ll dive right into six of the most popular types of mushrooms you can find. Keep in mind that many varieties of mushrooms are strictly regional. As such, we recommend looking up the specific kinds you can find in your neck of the woods.
1) Button Mushrooms
Button mushrooms, also known as Agaricus Bisporus, are one of the most popular types you can find in North America and Europe. They’re typically identifiable by their white colour, but they can turn more brownish in the second stage of their life.
When looking for button mushrooms make sure you don’t mistake them with the Destroying Angels species. This white mushroom looks very similar but comes with a longer stem.
2) Shiitake Mushrooms
If you want a good mushroom substitute for meat, then you’ll like shiitake mushrooms. This species’ earthy and meaty texture makes it a great flavor bomb in many dishes.
They’re identifiable by their flat cap heads and grey color. Though make sure you have a guide before you choose one. In addition to tasting great, these mushrooms also come with a ton of health benefits. They contain high levels of Vitamin B-6, copper, zinc, magnesium, and many more.
3) Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms have a flat top, white color, and generally branch out from a single stem. They have a chewy texture which tastes great when roasted. Typically you can find these types of mushrooms on dead wood like fallen tree stumps. Many people search for them because they contain Lovastatin.
This is a statin that can lower your cholesterol levels. The good news is that oyster mushrooms don’t contain many poisonous look-alikes. They do slightly resemble the Jack-o-lantern species. However, this poisonous type is an orange color, whereas oyster mushrooms are white.
4) Morel Mushrooms
Morel mushrooms are fairly easy to find due to their honeycomb-like texture. This type of species is great if you want to add a nutty flavor to any dish. However, you mustn’t mix these up with false morals. This is a type of species that also features a unique, scrunched-up cap. As such, always have an expert confirm before you try eating one.
5) Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms are another good meat replacement mushroom due to their sheer size. This type of species grows into one of the largest mushrooms out there. We recommend stuffing it with cheese or a similar mixture.
Or, you can just marinade and make a burger or mushroom steak out of it. You can identify these types of mushrooms by their large brown caps, and dark gills. We highly recommend this type of mushroom if you want to add selenium, copper, riboflavin, or potassium to your diet.
6) Chanterelle Mushrooms
Chanterelle mushrooms are easily identifiable by their bright yellow color. Unfortunately, people often mix them up with Jack-o-Lantern and False Chanterelle. Because they look so much like these poisonous breeds, we recommend avoiding them unless you’re with an expert.
How to Avoid Poisonous Mushrooms
If you come across a mushroom that you can’t identify with 100% certainty, then you shouldn’t eat it. The reality is that the consequences of poison mushrooms are severe. In some cases, they can even result in death. There are some general signs to tell if a mushroom is poisonous or not.
However, keep in mind that these aren’t cut and dry. Some edible mushrooms display the characteristics of poisonous ones, and vice versa. Mushrooms that come with white gills are often identified as poisonous. The presence of a volva, or large, bulb-y, underground section, is typically another indication.
Redcaps are another warning sign. Some of these types of mushrooms are either hallucinogenic or poisonous. If you decide to handle a mushroom that might be poisonous, then make sure you always use safety gloves. Cut and dig the mushroom out from the ground. Smell it cautiously.
Poisonous mushrooms often have an unpleasant, bitter smell, whereas edible mushrooms will smell pleasant and earthy. If you’re worried about encountering poisonous mushrooms in your area, then consider growing mushrooms at home.
What Should You Do If You Eat Poisonous Mushrooms?
The symptoms of poisonous mushrooms can vary. Minor symptoms include stomach illness, headaches, heart palpitations, dizziness, and a flushed face. More serious symptoms are respiratory problems, seizures, comas, and death. If you suspect that you ate a poisonous mushroom, then time is of the essence.
The quicker you can get help, the better chance you have. If you can, then you should immediately drive yourself to the emergency room. Alternatively, you can also contact a poison control center.
Want a Great Mushroom Grow Kit? Check Out MyMyCo
We hope this article helped you learn a little more about the different types of edible mushrooms. It’s easy to get overloaded by all the information required when foraging for mushrooms. As such, it’s important to start small and always go with a guide who knows what they’re doing.
Or, you can try growing the mushrooms yourself! How? Through reputable grow kit sellers, like MyMyCo. They offer many different mushrooms, from shiitake to oysters, that you can grow at home. Get in touch with us today to find out more about our different types of products.