Walking through the woods that abut the end of our road I have been glimpsing an abundance of fall mushrooms intermingled between the leaves and scattered along the edges of the paths.   It is tempting to think that some of these varieties could be included with my breakfast eggs but knowing your mushrooms is pretty important before you even think of eating them. Many mushrooms carry with them some level of toxicity and unfortunately, that is something that I am all too familiar with when my puppy had a voracious appetite for them leading to calls with poison control and pricey vet bills. Thank goodness she's outgrown her taste for them!  


The safest way to begin learning about mushrooms is to get hooked up with a professional who can identify them such as a mycologist - scientists who study fungi.  Another alternative is to become a member of a mushroom hunting club. These clubs can be found in various parts of the United States where you can participate in organized walks and forays to find wild mushrooms.  Many clubs also offer programs and classes to teach scientific methods of mushroom identification, recipe exchanges, special dinners, and the promotion of edible mushroom cultivation.  

If you're looking for some books to get you started on your discovery of this edible, poisonous and hallucinogen try the ones below. 


Words and photos by Catherine Bieri.