Posted 09-05-2003 at 16:56:44
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Not all mushroom taste or smell appetizing, see post about the stinkhorns posted a couple of weeks ago.
Not all mushrooms have a texture lending them to be edible, either as hard as wood, or the consistency of slobber from a cow's lip.
Not all mushrooms are of sufficient size to be considered for a meal.
Many mushrooms are reported to have adverse affects in some people and not in others, same as with poison ivy. So far poison ivy has not affected me and I have consumed some mushrooms that other people have reported ill effects from.
Some mushrooms have potentially severe effects on the metabolic system, ranging from mental clarity affecting all senses of the body(psychoactive), to fatalities reported every year.
Of those mshrooms that cause fatalities, not all of them must be consumed. There are mushrooms that have been consumed with no ill effects at all, however the cook did expire shortly after preparing the meal without consuming any of the mushrooms. Oh BTW the active toxin, Monomethylhydrazine (MMH), has a very narrow threshold between no effects at all and acute poisoning or death. MMH is also reported to be carcinogenic, it is utilized as a rocket fuel and it is highly volatile therefore, when cooking, do not inhale the fumes.
Of those that cause fatalities, not all are immediate, some leave the consumer in a lingering miserable suffering, death would be merciful, condition for up to several weeks. At this time, there is no known treatment; the only medical intervention is to lessen the suffering of the individual.
There are reportedly some herbal remedies (European research), if taken in advance will prevent some toxins from affecting the individual, and if taken after are reported to minimize the effects of the toxins. I prefer avoidance, of some substances.
Not all mushroom toxins are deadly, or poisonous by themselves, some mushrooms are noted to contain disulfram like compounds, which react with alcohol in the body to produce acetaldehyde. Which produces symptoms similar to individuals taking Antibuse who consume alcohol.
Not all mushrooms are hard to identify, some have unique characteristics, and they have no know look alike, such features as green glow in the dark gills and mycelium.
Not all fungi need be feared, many antibiotics were derived from fungus, Penicillin being one of the earliest. Some are garden co-companions either having a symbiotic relationship with desirable plants, or a predatory relationship with garden enemies(nematodes, Japanese Beatles, other grubs).
Not all mushrooms must be consumed to enjoy them. Some are utilized for dyeing wool and plant fibers, some for making items of clothes, others to bait and poison flies. Some are just a beauty to behold the same as butterflies, birds, orchids and flowers.
There are some mushrooms that are edible and actively sought by Mycophiles.
Always be sure of your identification, utilize more than one field guide as reference when identifying mushrooms, due to seasonal, regional, climatic variations, different books may present different key identifying chacteristics.
I have posted some photos on the kountrylife photo board, use them for familizaration, true mushroom identification goes way beyound a photo.
Join a local chapter of the Mycological Society ie. http://www.mssf.org/index.html
Some of the books I use and recommend are:
"Mushrooms Demystified" by David Arora
"All That the Rain Promises and More..." by David Arora
"The Autubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms" published by Knopf
"The Fifth Kingdom" by Bryce Kendrick
"The Mushroom Cultivator" by Paul Stamets
"Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms" by Paul Stamets
"Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World" by Paul Stamets
"Growing Wild Mushrooms" by Bob Harris
Alex... not just a Mycologist, but a Mycophile and a Mycophagist too...