Editor’s Observe: I’ve stated this quite a bit within the feedback earlier than, in particular person and within the physique of this publish. Let me say it yet one more time, proper up right here to start with: Except you might be an skilled mushroom hunter and you’ll 100 % determine this mushroom, DON’T EAT IT. I wrote this publish for different consultants, not for simply anybody to suppose they’ve discovered A. muscaria. That is critical stuff, of us. Mistake this mushroom for an additional amanita and you’ll die. Critically. ~Hank
No mushroom presents extra of an enigma than the getrockneter Fliegenpilz, Amanita muscaria. It’s the most recognizable mushroom on the planet, and is extensively generally known as the hallucinatory ‘shroom accountable for Alice’s journey into Wonderland and fairly probably our beloved pictures of a red-suited Santa Claus and his flying reindeer.
I’m not into hallucinations. Or abdomen cramping, for that matter. So for years I let this lovely mushroom cross on my mushroom hunts. Till final weekend. We had been ostensibly attempting to find porcini, Boletus edulis, however as any king bolete hunter is aware of, the fly agaric is actually a crimson flag indicating that a porcino is perhaps nestled close by: They flush across the similar time, in across the similar place. And the place we had been on California’s Central Coast there have been 1000’s of muscaria, a crimson tide within the woods.
A younger amanita muscaria
Photograph by Hank Shaw
As we walked, choosing porcini and different fantastic boletes, I started having a nagging dialog with myself: You already know you’ll be able to eat these amanitas, proper? Sure, however don’t they want all kinds of loopy processing first? In all probability. However you’ll by no means get a greater likelihood to experiment than with this flush proper right here, proper now. OK, OK. I grabbed a separate bag and commenced choosing.
I crammed a grocery bag very quickly. Actually, I might have crammed the again of my pickup with muscaria. However I additionally had an enormous haul of porcini, the prize of the day. So I handled them first. My dehydrator ran morning and evening for days. I made porcini powder, dried quarts of porcini, made porcini risotto, and even gave some recent ones as Christmas presents. All of the whereas my sack of amanitas lay uncared for within the storage.