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Edible Mushrooms

Edible Mushrooms

Clyde M. Christensen
Copyright Date: 1981
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 138
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  • Book Info
    Edible Mushrooms
    Book Description:

    The choicest varieties of mushrooms cannot be cultivated or commercially grown but are available in abundance to those who take the trouble to find them. With this book in hand, anyone can, with confidence, gather and enjoy delicious wild mushrooms without fear of the poisonous varieties. Edible Mushrooms, a new edition of the 1943 classic guide, Common Edible Mushrooms, describes in detail more than 60 of the most abundant and most easily recognized species. Photographs, many in color, show each species in its natural habitat for easy identification. Clyde M. Christensen warns against the poisonous varieties and advises amateur mushroom hunters to become thoroughly familiar with the most common edible mushrooms and to avoid all others. This edition contains new full-color photographs, and new material on how mushrooms grow and how to identify and collect them. Christensen has updated the classification to bring scientific names into agreement with internationally approved nomenclature but retains the older technical names in parentheses for easy comparison with other guides. An enlarged section of recipes provides good ideas for making the most of a mushroom harvest.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5554-0
    Subjects: Botany & Plant Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-2)
  3. About Mushrooms
    (pp. 3-15)

    Mushrooms have long been regarded all over the world as the most delectable and succulent of foods. Their peculiarly delicate flavor charmed the luxury-loving Roman aristocrats more than twenty centuries ago, as it charms people today. But most of us do not realize that the mushrooms we buy at the grocery store, either fresh or in cans, represent only one of the many edible kinds and that countless others make equally delightful eating. For edible mushrooms are to be found everywhere—in front yards, on shade trees, in parks, fields, and forests.

    All too often these evanescent plants are looked...

  4. The Foolproof Four
    (pp. 16-22)

    From the more than fifty common edible mushrooms described in this book, we have selected four kinds as being the most easily and surely recognized, most abundant and widespread, and most desirable in flavor and texture. All four have definite characteristics that positively distinguish them from doubtful, inedible, or poisonous kinds, and even from other edible kinds. Having learned their few distinguishing marks, beginners can gather and eat these mushrooms without fear or hesitation and with the assurance that wherever they may be they are enjoying the best that mushrooms have to offer. All are common throughout much of the...

  5. Mushrooms with Gills

    • White Spore Print
      (pp. 25-63)

      Those who eat mushrooms are again warned that to learn the common poisonous species and avoid them and to eat all others is risking serious illness or death! The edibility of all species is not known. The only safe procedure is to learnthoroughlya few of the common edible ones and to avoid all others. The purpose of including some of the more common poisonous kinds in this book is to show how these resemble, and how they can be distinguished from, the common edible kinds.

      The genusAmanita,named for Amanos, a mountain in Asia Minor, contains the...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
    • Rusty Brown Spore Print
      (pp. 64-65)

      Any gilled fungus having (1) cinnamon brown or rusty brown spores (2) a definite ring on the stem belongs to the genusPholiota. Adiposafatty or sticky; this species (Figure 40; Plate 1) was so named because in fresh young specimens the upper surface of the cap isvery sticky. It grows in crowded clumps of sometimes fifty specimens. The cap is from 3 to 5 inches in diameter, gently rounded, and chrome-yellow with dark scales. The gills are at first pale yellow but become dark brown soon as the spores are produced in quantity. Often a cap immediately the gills...

    • Pink Spore Print
      (pp. 66-69)

      Entolomacan be recognized by (1) the pale pink color of the spore print and (2) the fact that the gills are attached to the stem, sometimes running a short way down it. It grows on the ground, never on wood.E. Abortivum(Figure 41) is the only common species, having been so named because of its frequently abortive shape, this malformation being due to the growth of a parasitic mold. Specimens not attacked by the mold have normal caps from 2 to 5 inches wide, convex in shape or with the margins raised slightly above the center; they usually...

    • Purple or Purple-Brown Spore Print
      (pp. 70-76)

      The edible qualities of members of this genus were known to the ancients, and it has the honor of being included in what was probably the first cookbook in the English language, written about 1390 by the chief cook of Richard II. One of the species described below,Agaricus campestris,is the principal cultivated mushroom of commerce. No one knows just when people learned that these mushrooms could be grown artificially, but the first record was made shortly after 1600, when the art was confined to a comparatively small area near Paris. Before World War I more than twenty miles...

    • Black Spore Print
      (pp. 77-82)

      Some authors state that the generic name Coprinus is derived from a word meaning dung and that it refers to the habit of several species that grow almost exclusively upon dung. Thomas, however, in theField Book of Common Gilled Mushrooms(see p. 113) states that the word means filthy and probably refers to the transformation of the gills into a slimy liquid. The genus is characterized (1) by black spores and (2) by a unique method of liberating these spores. The gills are so close together that they almost touch, and it is doubtful if many spores could be...

  6. Mushrooms without Gills

    • Puffballs
      (pp. 85-87)

      Anyone who has kicked a ripe puffball and has seen the cloud of powdery dust it shoots out knows why it was given this name, but not everyone knows that the little puff of powder contains millions of spores that serve to disseminate the fungus over the surface of the earth. The curiosity of humans which leads them to pick up such plants—perhaps even in their anger at seeing an unknown plant, which leads them to destroy it with a kick—doubtless aids the humble puffball in liberating its spores. The tops of some puffballs crumble away at maturity,...

    • Morels and Saddle Fungi
      (pp. 88-92)

      There can scarcely be any doubt that the morels (see “The FoolproofFour,” Figure 1, and Plate 4) are practically without equals as edible fungi, and in regions where they are common, they are sought avidly by mushroom enthusiasts. In flavor and texture they surpass both the common cultivated species and most other wild mushrooms, and attemptshave been and still are being made to grow them commercially—sofar without success. Anyone who succeeded would have a veritable goldmine if one could keep the secret and avoid glutting the market, because morels command a good price and are always in demand.


    • Pore Fungi
      (pp. 93-94)

      This colorful fungus has been described and illustrated (Figure 4; Plate 2) in “The Foolproof Four” section in sufficient detail so that it need not be discussed here.

      In the young plant the cap is spherical and covered with athick layer of woolly, dark myceliumthat breaks up into soft, pyramidal tufts as the cap expands, exposing a paler brown layer beneath. In maturity (Figure 58), the cap is convex or flat and from 3 to 5 inches wide. The flesh of the cap is from 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick near the stem, thin at the margin, soft...

    • Club Fungi
      (pp. 95-96)

      All Clavariaceae supposedly are edible. Although the texture of mostis definitely tough, the flavor is usually excellent, and they lend them-selves readily to drying. There are many different genera and species, some of them too small to deserve notice for our purposes, but others large, conspicuous, easily recognized, and common. The photograph ofRamaria (Clavaria) strictagrowing on a rotten aspen log (Figure 59; also see Plate 14) shows the general form and habit better than words. Characteristic are (1) their upright growth and (2) their repeatedly branching stems, the tips of which always point upward. The number of branches...

    • Tooth Fungi
      (pp. 97-99)

      These are less common and abundant than the club fungi, to which they are related, but some of them are encountered often enough to merit inclusion here. The two species illustrated (Figures 60 and 61) are so characteristic that they cannot be confused with other kinds and for this reason should be of interest and value to the beginner.

      The bear’s head fungus forms white clumps from 3 to 6 inches or more in diameter, made up ofhundreds of tapering teeth,each tooth being from 2 to 4 inches long.

      We have found only a few of these rare and...

    • Jelly Fungi
      (pp. 100-102)

      The jelly fungi are so named because many of them have the appearance of irregular lumps of jelly and because the texture of fresh specimens is definitely gelatinous. All of them, however, are edible. People familiar with wooded areas will almost certainly have seen various jelly fungi, especially the two widely distributed and easily recognized kinds here described.

      The Jew’s ear (Figure 62) is a cosmopolitan plant found almost throughout the world. The cap is from 1 to 2 inches across, typicallyear-shaped, dark brownin color, and attached by a lateral or off-center stem-like base. It usually grows in...

  7. Mushroom Cookery
    (pp. 105-110)
  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 113-114)
  9. Index
    (pp. 115-118)