My step-daughter, who is part hobbit most of the time and part orc when she wrestles, loves to quote her favorite movie when I find mushrooms. While foraging this week, I lucked out and found a patch of Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus).
Almost 20 years ago, I was shown this mushroom on a week long ichthyology trip down the mighty Mississippi. While Dr. Etnier sipped on a cold one and discussed their identifying features, I shoved the Coldsteel Bushman onto a stick so we could cut them off the tree.
To quote a previous post on shrooms:
In my opinion, it is all about risk vs. reward when it comes to mushrooms. In the calorie department, mushrooms don’t have a lot to offer, weighing in at around 20 kcal per cup. That same cup will offer some protein and vitamins/minerals.
The risk? If you misidentify a mushroom, it could be fatal. Your best plan of action is to take a class, get some good field guides, and make friends with some experienced mushroom hunters/experts.
Risk = possible poisoning/death vs. Reward = A handful of calories, some nutrients, and a whole lot of taste
In a hypothetical survival situation, I would only eat mushrooms that I regularly dined upon. Dehydration, lack of sleep, and hunger could lead to poor decision making, so play it safe, study them now or don’t even go down that path.
Oyster mushrooms fall into the “safe” category as they are easy to recognize and have no poisonous look-a-likes.
- Grows on wood
- Overlapping, oyster shaped, and cream colored.
- Gills that run down the “stem”
- Smells like oyster mushrooms
Since my wife is a human milk factory these days, I have been fending for myself more. That means lots of yogurt and the occasional pizza to top with the sauteed goodies.
The rest were dehydrated to save until the real talent returns to the kitchen.