Tuesday, May 24, 2011
To eat or not to eat...that is the question
All the rain here should lead to mushroom growth, right?
Sure enough, out on the lawn yesterday I spied several small mushrooms muscling up through our sod.
With my small mushroom identification book in hand I sat on the almost dry lawn, plucked the fungi, and tried to identify them by guide book pictures.
Nothing in the guide book, which really is a limited guide, matched up with what I was seeing.
Next step: Try to find information on the Internet.
The Utah Mushroom Society had a web page and a phone number to call for mushroom identification. A guy named Don answered my call with a very soft hello. I gave him a mushroom description, and he suggested I send him pictures of what I had harvested, with a good shot of the mushroom underside or gills.
Isn't it a handy thing to have someone to call and send pictures to before cooking up some mushroom on a gamble?
Knowing that LOTS of folks are having a rainy spring and perhaps likewise are having mushrooms come up in their area, I want to pass along THIS LINK.
It provides local area contacts to mushroom experts...including our friends to the North in Canada.
How fun is that?
"To eat, or not to eat, that is the question..." to which Mr. Johnston replied:
At first glance your mushrooms look like an Agrocybe, which are very common this time of year. With the cobwebby veil connecting the cap edge with the stem it puts them in the Cortinarius family. Many, if not most Cortinarius are poisonous, and Agrocybes are not recommended edibles. The Cortinarius will have rusty brown spores, the Agrocybe plain brown. This is not a very positive ID, but it's about as good as I can do without having a mushroom in hand. If there is some way you could get one to me, I could give it a further try.
Oh well. The Swedish meatballs tasted just fine without a side of mushrooms anyway.
Happily though, Don emailed me that the Utah Mushroom Society is planning a mushroom hunting day trip on June 4th, with everyone meeting up at the Park and Ride lot just two blocks from my house.
Talk about a dream come true: Mushroom hunting with an expert along, to tell me which mushroom I should just photograph and which mushroom I can indeed eat!