To eaT, or noT To eaT

Landscape (UK) - - In The Kitchen -

Sev­eral groups of mush­room con­tain toxic com­pounds known as am­a­tox­ins. These can be fa­tal, even in small doses. Wayne shares his tips for avoid­ing poi­sonous fungi: For­ag­ing must be done with an ex­pert un­til iden­ti­fi­ca­tion abil­i­ties are well de­vel­oped to iden­tify ed­i­ble mush­rooms with con­fi­dence. Even then, a mush­room guide, such as Mush­rooms by Roger Phillips, should be car­ried. Online im­ages are not suf­fi­ciently re­li­able, so research is cru­cial. Many mush­rooms can be iden­ti­fied by their ap­pear­ance, for ex­am­ple, whether the un­der­side of its cap has gills, tubes or spines, or if it has grown out of a sack. How­ever, many poi­sonous fungi look like com­mon ed­i­bles. Tak­ing a spore print can help. The method en­cour­ages the mush­room to re­lease its spores onto a piece of paper, cre­at­ing a dis­tin­guish­ing pat­tern. Dif­fer­ent types of mush­room cre­ate dif­fer­ent spore prints. To get a print, the cap is placed on a piece of paper which is half white and half black, spritzed with a lit­tle water, then placed in an air-tight con­tainer overnight. If the fungi can­not be iden­ti­fied with to­tal con­fi­dence, it must not be eaten. What can be iden­ti­fied, is cooked to kill off any harm­ful bac­te­ria. If it is a mush­room not had be­fore, a small amount is first tried. All fungi con­tain chem­i­cals that may cause an in­tol­er­ance or ad­verse re­ac­tion. It is es­sen­tial to get to know poi­sonous species, as some can be harm­ful sim­ply through han­dling.

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