How to select the best mushrooms

September 6, 2021


When first learning about the identification of mushrooms, it can be quite confusing for a beginner to tell one mushroom apart from the other. The differences between two very similar-looking mushrooms might seem so subtle that even an experienced mycologist has some difficulties. Even if you know absolutely nothing about these fascinating organisms and their fast-paced biology, there is at least one sure way to distinguish between them without having to learn anything new! Here’s how:

 Look at the color of the mushroom’s pores (holes) on its underside

Mushrooms with white pores are edible; those with red or brown ones are not. You can eat any mushroom except for Amanitas; they will make you sick. There are thousands of edible mushrooms out there, easy to identify and without fatal dose levels! Buy from Canada’s shrooms organic


As a bonus, here are some more helpful tips on mushroom identification:

–    Boletes have tubes under their caps; all other mushrooms do not. The bolete family is large and includes the delicious cep (porcino), porcini’s smaller cousin chanterrelle and penny bun, along with many edible relatives.

–    All chanterelles grow in forests; the only exception is Cantharellus persicinus, which grows in orchards. It has rounded wavy edges rather than gills underneath its cap. Its flesh smells pleasantly of apricots.

–    The spore print color of Russulas ranges from cream to blackish brown. There are other ways to distinguish them, but this is the quickest one.

–    Amanitas have rings on their stem; other mushrooms do not. For example, fly agaric (amanita muscaria), which you probably know from fairytales and Christmas cards, does not form a ring at the base of its stalk where it meets the soil. The only exception here is Clitocybe dealbata and Clitocyberivulosa, two deadly poisonous mushrooms that might easily be mistaken for amanitas by an inexperienced mycologist!

–    All chanterelles grow in forests; all false chanterelles grow elsewhere! Cantharell cibarius is found everywhere in forests worldwide, while its lookalikes grow in pastures or on lawns.

–    The only orange mushroom with brown spores is Russulaochroleuca. But it has a powerful smell and must be boiled for a long time to become edible. It’s better to avoid this one altogether.

–    All boletes have tubes under their caps; all false boletes do not! False boletes are unrelated mushrooms with a different biology. For example, they lack pores and instead have gills underneath their caps.

In fact, morel means wrinkled in French!-    Morels have wrinkled caps rather than smooth ones; all other mushrooms have smooth ones. If you found a “smooth” mushroom with a wrinkled cap, think twice before you decide to eat it.

–    Helvellacrispa, also known as elfin saddle or ice cream cone, can be distinguished from other false morels by its unusual shape that vaguely resembles an ice cream cone. False morel stalk is attached to the side of the cap rather than emerging from the middle of the underside.

–    Russulas have white gills underneath their caps; all other mushrooms do not. For example, Lactariusdeliquescens smells of melon rinds and has dark gills underneath its cap.



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