When lay-people talk about mushroom foraging, they tend to over simplify. The ones that look like this are good to eat and the ones that look like that are poisonous. Just go look up a picture online and you’re all set. In reality, knowing which fungi are delicious and which are deadly often takes a little more investing than just comparing those you find to pictures online. Particularly when LBMs are involved.
LBM is a common phrase in foraging groups, mushroom blogs and nature photography. It stands for Little Brown Mushrooms, and is used for unidentified mushrooms similar to those pictured below.
As you can see, you can’t judge an LBM by it’s appearance. So probably not a great idea for beginners. If you do decide to go LBM hunting, here’s a few tips!
- As always, NEVER MUNCH ON A HUNCH! If you aren’t sure, don’t eat it. Seriously, I cannot say this enough.
- Use your sense of smell – Many mushrooms give off a destinct smell. Funeral bell gives off a mealy scent while honey mushrooms smell sweet or acidic.
- Know your trees – Some mushrooms only grow on certain trees, so knowing them can help you narrow down your identification. Additionally some mushrooms, such as honey mushrooms, like growing on toxic plants and that toxicity can leach into the mushrooms making them dangerous to eat.
- Make a spore print – Spore prints are an essential tool for mushroom hunting. I am no expert, so as opposed to trying to explain it myself, I suggest watching a how to on YouTube like this one https://youtu.be/wz4-IiC27_8
- Take a class – Even if you live in a city, most likely there are foraging classes near you. So give it a Google or check Facebook for your local mushroom groups.
Growing as a forager can be a little intimidating, but luckily there are so many more things to learn and lots of people willing to help you on the way. Happy foraging!
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