I am often asked how you properly identify edible mushrooms in a survival situation.
Here is my reasoning. In a survival situation, especially a long term situation, you need energy and that means calories. Mushrooms are a fat burning thermogenic food that is why they are great for diets. This does not mean that mushrooms have negative calories, only that they require more calories to digest them than they contain. As a result, if you tried to live on mushrooms, you would starve yourself to death.
Cabbage is another thermogenic food. Next, I indicate that learning to identify edible mushrooms is something you should think about long before you need to do so. Never rely on a book alone to identify edible mushrooms, at least not at first. Mistakes can be made and they can be deadly…
Personally, I consider mushrooms a comfort food and use them as an addition to other sources of food obtained in the field.
If you are going to pick morels, make sure you identify them correctly. To me, they look like a brain, but others think they look like a sponge. They have a hollow stem and the inside looks like a chocolate Santa. The hood is all one piece with the stem, not a separate piece. However, make sure that you absolutely identify them before eating. As previously stated, there are false morels and they can make you sick.
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Copyright © 2014 by John D. McCann
Warning: Never pick and eat a plant that you have not 100% identified as edible. There are many reference books and field guides which can help in the identification of edible plants. I also suggest a plant walk with an expert to help in the correct identification. On the east coast I recommend Wildman Steve Brill, and on the west coast, Christopher Nyerges.
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