I saw this posted on Facebook and thought it was worth sharing. I once gave a friend a small bag of fresh morels as he had never tried them before. About a week later I asked him how he liked them. He told me they tasted amazing but then he became sick and had diarrhea and vomiting for 3 days. I asked him how he cooked them. He said that he sliced them and put them in a salad! I was shocked to say the least! I told him that you absolutely have to cook morels at least a few minutes so they release their toxins! To this day, many people have no idea that morels have toxins! Happy hunting! See you in the woods!! -Chris Matherly
I do not know where other than here on my home page I can post mushroom edibility comments. I want to comment on eating raw versus lightly cooked versus well cooked mushrooms. For decades I have told people to rarely, if ever, eat mushrooms raw. I eat my mushrooms well cooked. I might slice some prime raw king bolete buttons onto my salad and of course I use truffles raw (the amounts for truffles are tiny). With the growth in the raw foods movement I have seen soaring numbers of GI distress cases for edible Agaricus species when eaten raw or lightly cooked. Shiitake, if consumed raw or only lightly cooked, can cause “shiitake flagellate dermatitis” an extremely painful condition caused by circulating lentinin which ruptures capillaries and lasts for a couple of weeks (photo attached).
In general because mushroom cell walls are made of indigestible chitin, and thorough cooking breaks down the chitin (and helps avoid a bezoar that can block your intestines), cook all mushrooms until they start to caramelize (that can also really make the flavors pop). Thorough cooking also releases the beta-D-glucans that I believe make virtually all edible mushrooms medicinal mushrooms capable of reducing dementia, reducing cancer and in general increasing lifespan. If I am wrong, no harm done – you had a delicious and nutritious meal. If I am right, you are also healthier, live longer, and stay mentally sharp longer. Another benefit of cooking is breakdown of the glycohydrazines present in a wide range of fungi. Some of these compounds are potent carcinogens. Finally some mushrooms are extra special for fighting cancer – these include but are not limited to Lion’s Mane and other Hericium species, a wide range of oyster mushroom species, the king bolete cluster of species, and many polypores (when processed at high temperature). Consider supplements of cultured mycelium which is processed at high temperature before being sold). Cultured mycelium also has two other advantages – you do not need to continually harvest perennial polypores, just get a culture started. Also you can screen cultures and only grow mycelium from potent strains of the mushroom of interest. Wild mushrooms can vary 10 to 100-fold in beneficial compounds from one sample to the next while cultured mycelium can be focused on known strong strains (read the story about the development of penicillin to understand how critical this is).