Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Amanita Muscaria and other Finds

Mushroom season is upon us! I've been on several forays in the last month, so I'm just gonna splash up some of the best pics. Mushroom identification is like dream interpretation sometimes.... only you can decide about what to do next with the information revealed.

Disclaimer for Kids: don't eat wild mushrooms. Bad idea.

So below is a red bolete, poking out of the duff. I like how they hide.

And these are candy caps (lactarius rubidus) - which are amazing in cookies and even homemade ice cream.

And a tiny shrimp russela - considered "choice" but we just took photos.

But the real winner last week was amanita muscaria.

Yes, this is the smurf mushroom, the original Christmas present under the pine tree, the friend of many Siberian shamans. They were all over the place the week before Christmas!

Here's another amazing one:

Little hider. For more background into the psycho-mythic past of amanita muscaria, check out this post by Feral Kevin.

How to Prepare Amanita Muscaria to Eat

We ate them. Yes, they're poisonous/visionary as is, but we didn't want to go that road so here's how we safely ate the amanita muscarias without any ill effects:

1. Brush loose dirt off freshly picked mushrooms
2. cut them into slices like chicken strivulets
3. boil them for 15-20 minutes in a pot. The muscimol and related toxins are water-soluble so this renders the flesh edible.
4. Pour out the water and do what you will with that. Siberian shaman used to drink reindeer piss to get at these psychotropic compounds - just sayin'.
5. Sauté the mushroom flesh like you treat meat or tofu. We used butter.
6. Eat! The taste is amazing - I kept saying "this tastes like delicious chicken strivulets." A little salt helps too. Eat over rice, as a side, or in a salad.

I usually don't recommend the eating of wild mushrooms so glibly, but this is about the one mushroom in the world that is easily recognizable and has no deadly look-a-likes. After all, amanita muscaria is technically poisonous, so you've been warned. Do your homework and have a mushroom expert on hand whenever cooking wild mushrooms.


Ben said...

Love the shot of the A. muscario mushroom! Would love to see one of these in person, very cool.

ErinLangley said...

I ate amanitas once, and barfed and had chills and sweats and shakes. It was great! It also did something pretty indescribable to my perception of life.

Ryan said...

sounds like the classic alice in wonderland effect! thanks for sharing - people should know what they are in for with a. muscaria.

As they say in the south "truth will set you free, but first it will wreck your life."