About

I am not a trained mycologist, and this site in no way offers expert opinion.  I won’t try to identify mushrooms via pictures. And I assume no liability for whatever someone may do with the information contained herein.

And I don’t take undue risks.  Mycotoxins can be very nasty – and no mushroom is worth damaging one’s organs permanently, no matter how delectable it may appear.

I try to identify almost every mushroom I see, with the exception of “little brown mushrooms” which are in astounding supply, and are invariably poisonous, at least, that’s what an odds-maker would say.

The species I eat are pretty unequivocal.  Giant puffballs, the hen of the woods, morels, oyster mushrooms  – these are easy to identify.  Sure, there are proxies for each that I want no part of eating.  However, I am meticulous, observant, rigorous and committed to not poisoning myself.

Sometimes, I do make an effort to identify (and eat!) a species with which I’m not familiar, most notably, the honey mushrooms I found last year.  I made spore prints, noted a host of physical characteristics, considered time of year, habitat, and recent rainfall.  Everything lined up.  There were no questions. I ate them.  They were delicious.

However, if there are ever any questions in my mind – if one identifier doesn’t line up, though everything else does – I won’t eat the mushroom. Period.  I’ll take pictures, and muse upon the mushroom’s identity, but I stop there.

I will probably never eat an American Parasol mushroom.  It’s tall, white and found in woodlands.  So is the aptly-named Destroying Angel.  I’ll look, I’ll be interested, but I’ll leave that one behind for someone else.

This site is merely my diary of my foraging expeditions.  You’re welcome to tramp along with me.

8 responses to “About

  1. I live in northern Il near Wisconsin and wondered if you would ever consider taking someone (me) out with you to teach some basics? I’ve been reading different blogs and it looks like so much fun!

  2. What’s your guess on the morel season this year? Friends (experienced ‘shroomers) & I (beginner) are registered for the annual morel hunt in Ottawa,IL the 1st weekend in May. We’re afraid the season will be over by then since we’ve had such a warm month!

    To Rosalia: I joined ILMYCO late last year. Looks like on occasion they may join up with the WI mushroom group for a foray near the IL-WI border. You may want to checkout the WI group as well.

    • Fran, it’s really tough to say. I had a nice find on 4/6 but things have been cold and dry – I’m hearing from others the mushrooms are drying up. But it should be warmer and rainy this weekend, so that may get things going again. I’m just going to keep checking.

  3. Found a few yellow & a couple of old black morels last weekend. Also a really big pheasant back growing in the hollow trunk of a dead tree. In another area found more pheasant backs- fresh. Has anyone eaten those? I understand they’re edible, if so wondering how best to prepare.

    • Hi Fran – I’ve tried pheasant backs – while they’re edible, I don’t love the taste. They have a distinct cucumber / watermelon rind flavor. They’re best when young and tender. I like them best steamed and then marinated in a spicy liquid that’s heavy on Asian flavors. That said, I don’t go looking for them, but I do see them everywhere!

  4. Hi! I live in McHenry, am a member of WI and IL myco societies but don’t go to meetings due to distance. My adult daughter and I hunt together and would love to carpool to events or hunt together. Let me know if you’re interested. I don’t mind driving and paying for gas.

  5. I am an avid Hen Of Woods hunter but have been unable to find any at my normal spots so far this year. Any luck up north yet? Do you know of anyone who purchases Hens? They are so delicious there has to be a market for them somewhere. Im located in central Illinois. I enjoy your website, thanks.

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