Mushroom Identification Guide
When it comes to mushroom identification there is nearly an endless amount of mushrooms and Fungi out there but our guide is here to help you understand which mushrooms are edible and worth foraging for.
Never eat anything unless you are truly sure it is 100% edible. We recommend that you use multiple sources like pictures, books, experts, and other resources to help with your identification.
Types of Mushrooms
Once you open yourself up to trying wild mushrooms you might be surprised to find how delicious they can be but you must ask yourself are you absolutely sure they are edible?
We have picked the most common and easily identifiable mushrooms to include in our guide and to make things even easier we have created this legend to help you understand at a glance what type of mushroom you might be dealing with.
A natural rule that we learn from experience is that when it comes to mushroom foraging, not all mushrooms are worth it.
Every forager starts off with the urge to pick everything in sight thinking that if it’s not poisonous then it must be worth picking, but let us tell you that is not the case.
The experienced forager will tell you to admire some from a distance and stick to putting your efforts towards the truly tastier mushrooms like the Cep, Hedgehog, or Amethyst Deceiver(our personal favourite).
Inedible Mushrooms 🚫
These are the mushrooms we suggest that you admire for their beauty and not for their taste. Some may have intriguing colours like Coral mushrooms and others like Tree Ears might seem like great fun but we advise against cooking them.
They may be edible but for either the lack of taste, their texture, or the amount of effort in preparation it is simply not worth it. Certainly identify these and add them to your foraging list for the season but save your energy for the tastier varieties of mushrooms.
Poisonous Mushrooms ☠️
We do not include many poisonous mushrooms in our guide but it is important to note that a lot of mushrooms have look-a-likes which can be deadly when eaten.
In 2010 The Health Protection Agency’s National Poisons Information Service received 209 calls from NHS staff about mushroom poisoning in the UK while in France 10,600 people were poisoned by mushrooms between 2010 and 2016.
Do not eat any mushrooms which you have the slightest doubt about or aren’t sure is 100% edible. Use different resources like foraging books or foraging apps to help you with your mushroom identification.
When To Pick Mushrooms
You will find mushrooms all year round though there are certain seasons which are better than others to go foraging.
Some mushrooms can only be found at specific times of the year so it is important to know what mushrooms are in season now or will be dotting the routes of your walks soon.
Spring Foraging 🌱
Summer Foraging ☀️
Summer is the season to really go exploring and take advantage for the good weather. Why not combine a foraging and camping trip to make the most of a weekend?
You will find all kinds of mushrooms out enjoying the sun like Chicken of the Woods, Oyster Mushrooms and Penny Buns.
Autumn Foraging 🍂
When the greens are replaced with browns fading to oranges and the trees begin to lose their leaves you know Autumn has arrived.
Keep your eyes peeled during early mornings on the golf courses and green fields after the first cold snap and you might spot a group of people searching the grass for the famous psychedelic mushroom, the Liberty Cap.
Winter Foraging ❄️
Now that the cold has set in it is time to enjoy the fruits of your labour for the year. Hopefully you will have built up a store of dried mushrooms that you can use in wholesome winter dishes while you plan what you will look for next year. So sit back with a cup of tea, put those well trodden feet in slippers and catch up on your reading of foraging books.
This is the perfect time to take stock of the new skills you have learned and the knowledge gained throughout the foraging seasons of the past year. Help put your knowledge to use next year with some foraging accessories to support your wild recipes.
Put that new found knowledge to good use with foraged gifts like dried mushrooms, jams, meads, pickled goods or if you’re booking for a gift for a forager you should read a foragers gift guide.