Mushrooms are a delicious addition to many meals and a great substitute for meat. However, not all mushrooms are edible.
The mushroom you find at grocery stores are all safe, and most of the mushrooms you find in your backyard are safe for consumption, but not all. Unless you are a seasoned mushroom hunter, it is best to avoid consuming any mushroom you may find in mature and stick to the regular supermarket varieties.
What Makes a Mushroom Inedible?
Primarily, inedible mushrooms contain poison. Some mushroom varieties are highly toxic and can cause hallucinations, a grave illness, or even death.
Then there are varieties of mushrooms that are considered inedible but are actually safe to eat in terms of health. These mushrooms may have a bad taste or be too hard and chewy to enjoy in a meal.
What Makes a Mushroom Toxic?
Toxic mushrooms have a variety of substances that are harmful to health. The Amanita mushroom species is responsible for 95% of mushroom poisoning, this is because they contain two different types of toxins, phallotoxin, and amatoxin.
Phallotoxin is dangerous but cannot be absorbed by the stomach, so phallotoxins cause minimum poisoning effects if consumed but can be fatal if they reach the bloodstream by any other means.
Amatoxins can enter the system via the stomach and primarily attack the liver. They are believed to also cause damage to the digestive system as they pass, resulting in nausea, diarrhea, and stomach bleeding if the poisoning is severe.
Which Are The Most Toxic Mushrooms?
The Amanita species of mushroom is the most toxic. This is a family of mushrooms that consist of varieties of the sort, each containing varying degrees of poison.
This group is responsible for most of the reported mushroom poisonings around the world and includes the infamous ‘death cap’ mushroom. The death cap is probably the most toxic of this species. Death cap mushrooms prevent the body’s cells from functioning correctly and they eventually die.
Amantia mushrooms are fairly plain in appearance. They are white with a white cap that is shaped like an umbrella.
What Happens if You Touch a Death Cap Mushroom?
You won’t die or become ill if you touch a death cap mushroom without gloves. However, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and immediately afterward as the poison could potentially be stuck to your hands.
The poison found in death cap mushrooms is very strong and stable. They are too strong to be boiled or fried out of the mushroom, as is the case with some other toxic mushroom species.
Make sure not to touch your mouth nose or eyes before washing your hands if you have touched a death cap. Also, make sure not to consume any food with have touched if you have not yet cleansed your hands of the toxin.
What Toxic Mushrooms are Edible?
It is the case that some toxic mushrooms are edible. Heat destroys the poison found in some (but not all) toxic mushrooms.
The Amanita Muscaria mushroom is a common delicacy that can be tasty if cooked well, hallucinogenic if undercooked, and lethal if not cooked at all. Cooking the Amantia Muscaria is best left to experienced professionals.
Morels, on the other hand, are found in everyday kitchens. They are a common variety of mushroom that is considered edible, despite containing toxins. The toxins present in morels is so low that it will not harm you to consume them raw, and all the toxins are completely removed during the cooking process.
Can I Eat the Mushrooms Growing in My Lawn?
You possibly can eat the mushrooms growing in your lawn but it isn’t advised. Mushrooms that grow in the backyard are commonly referred to as ‘white caps’ and are mostly benign.
However, there is a possibility that a toxic whitecap could make its way in among your harmless garden mushrooms, and distinguishing between them is almost impossible for an inexperienced mushroom hunter.
Therefore it is best to avoid eating any mushroom your find growing on your lawn. Just in case you come across one that is hazardous to your health.
Can My Dog Eat Mushrooms Growing in My Lawn?
Dogs have similar biology to humans, they are as vulnerable to toxic substances as we are and in some cases even more so. Therefore it is best not to let your dog eat any of the mushrooms growing in your lawn unless you know exactly what they are.
Mushrooms growing in backyards are mostly harmless, but there is a possibility that a poisonous variety could appear and if your dog consumes it, it would have a damaging effect on their health.
Mushroom poisoning can be fatal, so if you have unidentified mushrooms growing on your lawn, it is best to remove this temptation from your backyard to protect your pets.
What Happens If You Eat a Poisonous Mushroom?
Each type of poisonous mushroom has a slightly different effect, and symptoms vary according to have much you have eaten, but you can generally expect the following symptoms to appear if you have been poisoned by mushrooms:
- Stomach Cramps
- Delerium and hallucinations
- Stomach Bleeding
- Dry mouth
How Many Types of Mushroom Are Edible?
There are 614 different species of edible mushrooms that can be found in nature. There are sub-species to these species that bring the number into the thousands if you consider all sub-species independently.
Around 20 of this number are found easily in supermarkets, grocery stores, and farmers’ markets. Other edible varieties are rarer and the more are the mushroom, the more expensive they are to buy.
Edible mushrooms are a great source of potassium. They are recommended as part of a balanced diet and have been used for centuries in alternative medicine.
Which is The Most Popular Edible Mushroom?
The Agaricus Bisporus is by far the most popular mushroom. These are the common ‘button’ mushrooms that are found in supermarkets around the western world.
They come in colors varying from white to brown and they are enjoyed for their woody, meaty texture that compliments any dish.