- Dig up the complete mushroom (including the base), as the shape of the very bottom of the stem is an important feature for proper identification.
- Keep mushrooms in paper or waxed paper bags during collection and storage. Mushrooms are 90 per cent water and will quickly rot in plastic bags or containers, thereby hindering certain identification and accelerating the deterioration of the food product.
- If you are gathering several species, do not mix them together. Keep separate bags for each kind you collect.
- Check each and every mushroom because deadly look-alikes can, and do grow "cheek to jowl" with delicious edibles.
- When preparing mushrooms to eat, ALWAYS eat only one species of mushroom, putting aside one perfect specimen that is totally intact for purposes of identification should you become ill.
- Thoroughly cook your mushrooms, as almost all wild mushrooms are indigestible when raw. Diarrhea may be a sign of improper preparation.
- Sample a small portion of a species you have not previously eaten. Each new species is like a new food -- you may have an allergic reaction to a species that poses no problem for other people.
- Again, follow all safety tips. Take no shortcuts, as it may be the very last one you take in your life!
For more information, log onto www.minnesotamushrooms.org/ www.crc.agri.umn.edu/~jamesg/ewm/pt2.html.
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