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Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States

Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States: A Field-to-Kitchen Guide

Joe McFarland
Gregory M. Mueller
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States
    Book Description:

    Lavishly illustrated with nearly three hundred gorgeous full-color photos, this engaging guidebook carefully describes forty different edible species of wild mushrooms found around Illinois and surrounding states, including Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, and Kentucky. With conversational and witty prose, the book provides extensive detail on each edible species, including photographs of potential look-alikes to help you safely identify and avoid poisonous species. Mushroom lovers from Chicago to Cairo will find their favorite local varieties, including morels, chanterelles, boletes, puffballs, and many others. Veteran mushroom hunters Joe McFarland and Gregory M. Mueller also impart their wisdom about the best times and places to find these hidden gems._x000B__x000B_Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States also offers practical advice on preparing, storing, drying, and cooking with wild mushrooms, presenting more than two dozen tantalizing mushroom recipes from some of the best restaurants and chefs in Illinois, including one of Food & Wine magazine's top 10 new chefs of 2007. Recipes include classics like Beer Battered Morels, Parasol Mushroom Frittatas, and even the highly improbable (yet delectable) Morel Tiramisu for dessert._x000B__x000B_As the first new book about Illinois mushrooms in more than eighty years, this is the guide that mushroom hunters and cooks have been craving._x000B__x000B_Mushroom Hunting in Southern Illinois from Claudette Roulo on Vimeo.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09427-9
    Subjects: Botany & Plant Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface Is This Book for You?
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Do Not Ignore This Warning! Mushroom poisoning can be fatal.
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. 1 Tips for Beginners How to Find, Identify, and Understand Wild Mushrooms
    (pp. 1-18)

    Finding wild mushrooms in Illinois is incredibly easy. They’re everywhere. But that’s the problem. There are so many mushrooms—and, to the untrained eye, they often all look alike, or all look different, with different colors, shapes, and sizes. Mushrooms grow in your yard, in the park, or on your neighbor’s tree. They grow in wood chips beside the mailbox. Mushrooms are everywhere.

    You probably have no idea how many different species of mushrooms exist in Illinois. Nobody does, really—at least, not yet. Scientists known as mycologists continually add to the list of known mushroom species they’ve documented in...

  7. 2 Common and Poisonous A Few Toxic Mushrooms
    (pp. 19-32)

    Some species of poisonous mushrooms appear so frequently around Illinois that we think they deserve special mention. If your goal is to collect only edible mushrooms, it helps to know what the most common poisonous mushrooms look like.

    The next few pages describe some of the historically common poisonous mushrooms found in the Prairie State, as well as the potentially poisonous Amanita thiersii, once considered an obscure southern species that began turning up everywhere in southern Illinois in the late 1990s and quickly became one of the most common “bad” mushrooms found on Illinois lawns. This isn’t a complete list...

  8. 3 Into the Forest Mushrooms Found with Trees
    (pp. 33-78)

    Mushroom hunters spend more time in the woods than anywhere else. That’s because trees and mushrooms go together in so many ways—and mushroom hunters know it. Mushrooms grow on dead wood. They grow on living trees. They grow above tree roots. What mushroom hunters probably don’t know is this: Without fungi, most trees would die for lack of water and nutrients.

    About 130 years ago, scientists figured out that microscopic threads of fungi latched onto certain tree roots and formed life partnerships essential for both plant and fungus. This underground spiderweb of fungal threads is what delivers key nutrients...

  9. 4 The Morels Morchella esculenta, Morchella elata, and Morchella semilibera
    (pp. 79-98)

    Morel mushrooms are easily identified by their pitted, spongelike cap and hollow interior. Nothing else quite resembles a morel during spring—the season for morels. There are basically three distinct species of true morels in Illinois and all of them can be incredibly hard to spot among forest leaves, which adds to their legendary mystique. The flavor can be marvelous, making the hunt for morels a pursuit of culinary passion. Some mushroom hunters seem to be better than others at finding morels. It takes years of experience, good eyesight that’s trained for the hunt, and humble patience. Being really lucky...

  10. 5 The Chanterelles Cantharellus cibarius, Cantharellus lateritius, Cantharellus cinnabarinus, Craterellus cornucopioides, and Craterellus foetidus
    (pp. 99-118)

    Chanterelles have a reputation bordering on the impossible. They can’t possibly be as good as their reputation implies. Yet great chefs everywhere worship chanterelles—a truly wild mushroom that cannot yet be cultivated. People chatter with excitement whenever chanterelles are in season, which is all summer. Maybe it’s because certain chanterelles are so easy to find. Their golden radiance gives them away from a long distance—plus, they can fruit in dazzling, massive colonies, like stars on the forest floor. When chanterelles are in season, you’ll find plenty to eat. Unless, that is, you’re hoping for the totally impossible-to-see Craterellus...

  11. 6 The Boletes Xanthaconium separans, Strobilomyces spp., and Gyroporus castaneus
    (pp. 119-128)

    There’s really no point here in attempting to describe the often-tiny differences between the hundreds of unique species of mushrooms commonly known as boletes. This book is for beginners, so we’ll start with basics: Boletes have a stem and a cap, just like the majority of mushrooms on the ground. The common feature among all boletes is that there are pores on the underside of the cap, not gills. Technically, those pores are really the ends of tiny tubes crowded together. But let’s skip ahead to what’s really important.

    There are no deadly poisonous boletes known to exist. Some toxic...

  12. 7 The Puffballs Calvatia gigantea, Lycoperdon pyriforme, Lycoperdon perlatum, Calvatia cyathiformis, and Calvatia craniformis
    (pp. 129-136)

    You’ve seen and kicked puffballs when they’re really old: A puff of dusty spores billows out. Maybe you kicked twice, just for fun. What you’re doing is what puffballs actually require because puffballs produce their spores on the inside, which means they depend on something or someone bumping into them to release their captive spores. Alas, that dependency doesn’t always work out for puffballs, because sometimes people find puffballs when they’re still young and fresh—perfectly white inside—and take those puffballs home and cook them up.

    Somebody in New York once found a puffball more than 5 feet across,...

  13. 8 Take the Field without Getting Hurt Agaricus, Coprinus, Macrolepiota, and Lepiota
    (pp. 137-158)

    The first mushrooms we ever noticed as kids were probably on our lawn. But, even as children, we already knew not to pick those mushrooms. Since toddlerhood, we’d been taught that nobody should ever touch or eat a wild mushroom.

    They could kill you.

    Kill you,” Mother repeated. It’s the first time she ever shook a finger at us. And so we listened. But the truth is this: Some mushrooms growing on your front lawn are perfectly edible, and quite delicious. It’s true. But some of the mushrooms on your front lawn are also poisonous. As a matter of fact,...

  14. 9 Let’s Eat Recipes and Advice for Cooking Wild Mushrooms
    (pp. 159-204)

    Part of the joy of eating wild mushrooms is discovering the wildly different flavors and textures among the various species. Not all mushrooms taste alike. Some have absolutely no comparison whatsoever. It’s like discovering there are actually other kinds of fruit besides tangerines, or other kinds of meat besides what’s inside hot dogs. Prepare yourself for a big change as you sample the mushrooms in this book. If you think you know mushrooms based on your experience with marketplace exotics such as Portobella or Shiitake, you have so much more to discover. In this chapter we present to you twenty-eight...

  15. Index
    (pp. 205-210)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 211-215)