Editor’s Remember: I’ve said this a lot inside the suggestions sooner than, particularly particular person and inside the physique of this submit. Let me say it yet one more time, correct up proper right here at first: Till you’re an expert mushroom hunter and you could 100 % set up this mushroom, DON’T EAT IT. I wrote this submit for various consultants, not for merely anyone to suppose they’ve found A. muscaria. That’s extreme stuff, of us. Mistake this mushroom for an extra amanita and you presumably can die. Critically. ~Hank
No mushroom presents further of an enigma than the fly agaric, Amanita muscaria. It’s probably the most recognizable mushroom on the planet, and is broadly typically often called the hallucinatory ‘shroom chargeable for Alice’s journey into Wonderland and pretty presumably our beloved pictures of a red-suited Santa Claus and his flying reindeer.
I’m not into hallucinations. Or stomach cramping, for that matter. So for years I let this beautiful mushroom cross on my mushroom hunts. Until closing weekend. We’ve been ostensibly searching for porcini, Boletus edulis, nevertheless as any king bolete hunter is conscious of, the fly agaric is definitely a pink flag indicating that a porcino is more likely to be nestled shut by: They flush throughout the an identical time, in throughout the an identical place. And the place we’ve got been on California’s Central Coast there have been a whole lot of muscaria, a pink tide inside the woods.
As we walked, selecting porcini and totally different unbelievable boletes, I began having a nagging dialog with myself: you presumably can eat these amanitas, correct? Certain, nevertheless don’t they need all kinds of crazy processing first? Almost certainly. Nevertheless you’ll in no way get a better chance to experiment than with this flush correct proper right here, correct now. OK, OK. I grabbed a separate bag and commenced selecting.
I crammed a grocery bag in a short time. The reality is, I’ll have crammed the once more of my pickup with muscaria. Nevertheless I moreover had an unlimited haul of porcini, the prize of the day. So I dealt with them first. My dehydrator ran morning and night for days. I made porcini powder, dried quarts of porcini, made porcini risotto, and even gave some up to date ones as Christmas presents. The entire whereas my sack of amanitas lay neglected inside the storage.
I acquired right here up for air a few days prior to now and decided to do some evaluation. I’ve a lot of mushroom books. Most say that amanita muscaria (amanita shop) is toxic and hallucinatory. Plenty of identify it deadly poisonous, which seems to be a stretch considering there are fewer than a handful of confirmed deaths by this mushroom and all have extenuating circumstances. (A facet discover: fly agaric appears to be engaging to canine and cats and may kill them within the occasion that they eat it, so maintain it away out of your pets!)
There could also be moreover, apparently, a whole stylish subculture dedicated to tripping on this mushroom, and its use in visions dates once more a whole lot of years — notably amongst those who dwell inside the boreal forests of the north.
That’s the place Santa is on the market in. My colleague Greg Marley, whose superb e-book Chanterelle Needs, Amanita Nightmares: The Love, Lore, and Mystique of Mushrooms goes into this at measurement, says that fly agaric has been a emblem of yuletide happiness in Central Europe, Russia and Scandinavia for a whole lot of years, calling it “a pink delicate shining vibrant inside the winter darkness.” And the parents of the North, as any mushroom hunter is conscious of, are mad about mushrooms.