Deliciously Dangerous Mushrooms
So you want to harvest wild plants, survive raging rapids with only a holey plastic bag, and be just like Bear Grylls in every way possible, eh? Well you go for it, and while you’re at it, remember to drink your piss at least four times in a week. It’s essential for the manliness factor.
However, if you want to be a real man (or woman) and not DIE, you should probably learn some wilderness essentials first. A great place to start is with harvesting wild plants, like mushrooms.
First off, there’s this dude, this crazy, crazy dude, who calls himself “Wildman” Steve Brill. He’s an expert on harvesting, cooking, and identifying wild mushroom species, and a real adventurer in his own right. I would recommend you check out his online guide if you intend to put your newfound knowledge into practice. There is an identification chart for you to use (if you live in North America) for many of the most common mushroom species you will find, as well as links to other resources that will help you in your quest.
Here’s what you need to know in a nutshell:
- Don’t just grab whatever mushrooms you find. Many of them are poisonous, and could either make you sick (vulnerable to zombies or raiders) or just outright kill you. Be sure to follow Wildman’s guide for identifying questionable mushroom species. If you find a mushroom you just plain can’t identify, simply do not eat it.
- Limit your consumption of any new types of mushrooms. Even if a mushroom is supposed to be safe, you have to make sure you personally don’t have any adverse reactions.
- Generally speaking, never trust mushroom folklore. Old poison testing methods are rarely accurate, and are better left in old wives’ tales where they belong.
- Make sure you are dressed for the job and have the proper equipment for mushrooming. You never want to get out to a site and realize you don’t have bags, a knife, or safe clothing for your work, then have to go all the way back to start over.
- If you ever become sick after eating a wild mushroom, seek medical help if available. If none is available, well, you’re gonna have to deal with it. Try to drink water and consume low acid foods if possible. It may be a number of days before you are well enough to venture out again, so prepare yourself to hunker down for the long haul. Hopefully you have other survivors around to protect and assist you in your recovery, but if not, get yourself to the safest location possible, and try to rest. Discard any other mushrooms or food that was cooked with the poisonous mushroom, and NEVER consume alcohol with food containing wild mushrooms. Alcohol sometimes draws out poisons that would otherwise not affect you.
- When all else fails, stick to the “Foolproof Four” mushroom species that are easy to identify:
- The chicken mushroom/sulfur shelf
- The giant puffball
All of these are edible, tasty mushrooms and can be cooked into pretty much anything for a nutritional boost of vitamin D and a huge amount of antioxidants, something you’re not going to find in many other places during the Z-Poc.
Just remember to be safe in all your wild plant harvesting. Never take a chance when lives are on the line, but be adventurous enough to learn about proper procedure and methods now before it’s a necessity. Your survival may (will) depend upon it.