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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Are these mushrooms safe to eat?

My family and I picked some wild mushrooms (what in our area, Northern MI are called beefsteak mushrooms or false morels) and are wondering how safe they are to eat? Some say not at all, others say if you cook them correctly. So my question is how would I prepare and cook them to be safe?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Morel Mushrooms

You do have to be very, very careful if you are going to eat wild mushrooms. Some, like the morels that I used to get in Virginia, are easy to know whether they are safe or not.

There are a number of resources for you. I have a book called The Great Encyclopedia of Mushrooms. This is one of the clearest and most comprehensive texts I have found. It's a larger book, however, and not really suitable as a field guide.

This book is specific to your area: Poisonous Mushrooms of the Northern United States and Canada

Here are some links to sites on the web. Use them at your own risk.

Wikipedia: Mushroom Poisoning

Thanks for writing and careful hunting to you,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet