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103 responses to “Eating Santa’s Shroom”

  1. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand

    Hank, it seems suitable that I’m reading this on Christmas day, and it’s one of my favorites of so many fine posts. It is with some shame that I admit that one of the reasons I read you obsessively is that you do leg work that I, then, don’t have to do. We have fly agaric here on Cape Cod, and now I will eagerly await the next big flush so I can follow your instructions and try it for myself.

    As the year is closing in, let me also thank you for the recipes, instructions, ideas, and inspiration I find here on a regular basis, and one outstanding book.

    Best of the new year from Kevin and me to you and Holly. I’m hoping we’ll all be in the same place at the same time at some point. Bonus if there are fish there, too. Or mushrooms. Or maybe deer. Yeah, deer.

  2. Cindy

    Hank, VERY brave.

    Always enjoy reading your posts. I do skipped the animal-hunting part sometime.

    Wishing you a very best 2012 !!


  3. Michelle W.

    Thank you for this great post. So appropriate for Christmas. Hope you are having a Merry Christmas!

  4. Holly Heyser

    And folks, do click on that cautionary article Hank linked to. It’s pretty damn funny, in a mild-mannered Hunter S. Thompson sort of way…

  5. rebecca

    Agreed- you guys are brave :). And I’ll totally try this if I ever come across them (your version not the tripping version)…

  6. Marsha

    Wow! What a great post – even here in the north of Germany where mushrooming has a long tradition, the ‘notorious’ Fliegenpilz (Fly mushroom) is renowned for being deadly poisonous! It’s a bit too late for us this year, but I’m looking forward to trying it. Thanks for all the research, keep up the great work!

    All the best for 2011

  7. Rick Brown

    You are a brave boy, Hank! I see them all the time, and have wondered about them, but not taken the plunge myself. New goodies for the larder! I will be delighted to try them sometime soon, thanks for the footwork!

    Also, Holly’s right, the link is quite amusing.

  8. Steve

    I’ve never tried anamita muscaria mushrooms, but I was reminded of an article I read about them a while ago, “A Study of Cultural Bias in Field Guide Determinations
    of Mushroom Edibility Using the Iconic Mushroom, Amanita
    muscaria, as an Example”. It’s very interesting and worth a read:

    I became interested in the topic after I found out that one of the wild mushrooms that I grew up on, gyromitra esculenta, is toxic. When I was younger my grandfather and I would go out picking morels and the g. esculenta, which he called “beefsteak”. I can only assume that my the methods he used to prepare them removed the toxins, but he was unaware of the toxicity. These days I won’t go near them, although wikipedia claims they’re a delicacy in scandinavia.

  9. Alice

    I picked an amanita muscaria many years back, under some trees on the UW campus in Seattle. There were easily 8-10 large capped mushrooms just chilling in the snow – quite a pretty site. I considered eating it for a while. Left it sitting on a shelf as it slowly dried. In the end, I chickened out and tossed it. Next time I run across one, I’ll remember these directions and be braver.

  10. Butterpoweredbike

    Fascinating. I’m just annoyed that I’m gonna have to wait until July/Aug to try them myself. Just imagine, if someone has gotten to a prime bolete spot before you, you could still come away with these critters.

  11. Bill

    A better title might be: SHROOMING WITH SANTA C!!!

    On second thought, nevermind

  12. erica

    Hank, this is awesome. Love the image of you sitting around watching the game waiting to trip, ha ha. I’m jealous of your porcini foraging this time of year. Awesome! Hope you guys have a wonderful holiday.

  13. Jonny

    Love this post, Hank. There are so many generic holiday posts out there at the moment, so I was delighted to read this somewhat alternative take on Yuletide foods. Now, I’m assuming that if one just so happened to have some dry fly agaric lying around somewhere for whatever reason – not that I do, of course, being a respectable citizen – one could follow the same process for detoxifying them, which would also serve to rehydrate them, right? Just curious, you know.

  14. Phillip

    Just an awesome post. “Take notes!”

  15. Matt McInnis

    As a student at a small college on the coast of Maine I had friends who with their ethnobotanical (or ethnomycological) leanings became part of that A. muscaria. tripping subculture. One of whom, I won’t mention names, went so far as to drink his own urine after consuming the mushroom in the manner of the Siberians who believed the urine contained a more purified form of the hallucinogenic compounds. Greg Marley was a mycological advisor for my friends back then, though I’m positive he wouldn’t advise a couple college kids to trip on Fly agaric. They did that on their own accord. I will share this article with them as they have moved well beyond the days of searching out A. muscaria and prefer these days to hunt for edibles and medicinals like chagga, chantarelles, porcini etc. I’m sure they’d appreciate another encounter with the this iconic mushroom on less intoxicating terms!

  16. Katie Moroney

    you are a brave brave soul! while i would never give this a whirl i love your spirit more now then even before! thanks for this spectacular read! k

  17. Anya A

    Great post! I’m inspired to try your muscaria instructions as soon as the rocky mts begin popping out A. Muscaria. Also, shamans used this mushroom to reach alternate states of mind and to “get in touch” with the spiritual world. So be careful!

  18. George

    Have been eating them for years after boiling them for 30 minutes and pouring the water off. If you saute them after the first draining you will feel a euphoria that is quite pleasant for 45 minutes. If you rinse them again after boiling there will be no intoxication. George

  19. Jason

    Just found a couple in Seattle, dried themm ate one, and about to eat the other. Wish me luck. I’ve done it before.

  20. Dave hurley

    Many years ago in New Hampshire in the fall we picked amanita sand ate them a few times . I think we sautéed them but don’t recall as it is prob about 40 years ago. The effects were like the tail end of an acid trip. Not overly intense and hallucinatory but definitely noticeable effects. We had been living in a farmhouse in a beautiful setting, with a barn and some outbuildings. In front of the fireplace at around 2 am I painted a watercolor of the entire setting, including the 5 of us who lived there, the dog bothering the porcupine out by the apple tree. Until then my drawings had focused on smaller elements, but it was this night that resulted in a completly unified sense of the setting. imthink my girlfriend in the painting was carrying a mushroom and i conveyed the personality of each house members personality . I can easily imagine if people had developed a way to concentrate the effects and lessen the other toxic effects it might have resulted in more intense experiences. I feel lucky
    that our experiment with very little actual knowledge did not result in liver damage or worse.

  21. Accalia

    Mmmm, sounds good.
    I will proceed to boil mine with caution, but, do you have to pick off the white spikes?

  22. I’ve still got it! « PeculiarPurls

    […] directions from this blog by Hank Shaw, I processed my Amanitas. I started by trimming all the muddy bits off and rinsing […]

  23. Mushroom | Up & Away

    […] is reminiscent of Christmas colors. We thought they might be fly agaric, which I read about on Hunter Angler Gardener Cook last winter. So we picked some, wanting to learn what they […]

  24. Daniel Hernández

    Yeah they where always at my grand parents house, in the woods. Then i grew up and ate some, with two other friends.
    Me and one guy ended huging the toilet for a while, the other guy did also but fewer and said (with good experience on drugs) that he did feel alucinogenic effects and that we should do it again but not mixing it with condensed milk like we did.

    I want to add that in wikipedia it says that when dry they have a much higher potential alucinogenic effect. We took them as fresh as they come. Never tryed it again but going to do so after reading that dry comment on wikipedia.

  25. Dave1964

    This is a very tasty mushroom. I have eaten them dried with only minor hallucinatory effects. Just know what you are getting in to. I had an odd dream in a semi-sleeping state that I remember to this day. I was on the outside of a long wall of mullioned windows and there was a large party on the other side. Was I being given a glimpse of the “other side?” Later that night I awoke and needed to go to the bathroom. On the way there, I had the oddest sensation of being split into two beings – one lagging behind me as I walked and the conscious “me.” I now understand the meaning of this.

    You could probably boil these prior to drying and have some very tasty snacks without the enlightening effects…

  26. Eric Whitehead

    great post.
    I own a wild mushroom business. and have made a few videos on the same
    subject. I have harvested with David Aurora, and he has told me the same about boiling …throwing out the water and eating.
    I have truckload potential of them on a good porcini year.
    perhaps this will be the fall season to give it a try.
    I do suspect that within a few generations the fly agaric will
    become a well known and wellharvested wild mushroom.
    certianly safer than many foods we put into our bodies I would say.
    thanks again.
    Eric Whitehead.

  27. crazy guy

    i took 2 large dried caps, grinded them up in a blender then mix with apple sauce, took about an hour to kick in, it made me feel delirious, like going to the fridge to get a drink of water was really hard, cause first of all you have no sence of time, i had no idea if i just got done drinking the water or if i havnt got up to get it, it felt like i was in every room of the house at the same time, it wasnt fun, but at the same time im glad i tried can order dry caps off boucing bear.

  28. Lindberg

    Also skip beer, soda or other carbonated stuff if there are any of the “fun” chemicals left (muscimol); disappears when heated over ~100 celsius.. It might then be converted to ibotenic acid (not good) disappears over ~60 celsius or something like that.

  29. anthony

    Are there deadly looka likes of the yellow/orange Amanita?

  30. Carlos C

    Gotta try this this week. Its amanita’s season right now in Colombia!!! I’ll boil them 3 or 4 times. As you said: better be safe than sorry.

  31. Ed Varney

    I cut my Amanitas into slices and dried them. I dried them in the sun and after a day or so there were some maggots on them which i brushed off. After they were dry, I ate a small piece and waited. The mushroom spoke to me and told me it was ok to eat another piece. After that I simply waited for the mushroom to tell me how much I could eat and I enjoyed the high. I did learn that some specific amanitas have different amounts of magic – and too much could make you feel queasy.

  32. Carlos C

    Just ate them as I said. Simply delicious! Tasty. I ate them butter fried as the blog suggested. Then I deep fried them. They tasted awesome.. Then I used an A. Caesarea recipe to make some pasta. As a result: an awesome experience. I cooked the A. Muscaria at least four times in the water (better safe than sorry). No regrets. A must try mushroom every year! e

  33. Jeff

    Fried a small cap in butter last night. Tasty. Boiled 4 large mushrooms, then cooked in butter as well. Yummy.

    Thanks for the article.

  34. Anna

    Further Reflections on Amanita muscaria as an Edible Species

  35. Michelle

    Where can u find the mushrooms? Are there any in the northwest? Can I buy them online?

  36. kathy

    I’m so excited to try this, I live near the mountains i New Mexico, where the “deadly” Amanita Muscaria are in abundance. Can’t wait for next summer when I be picking mushrooms everyone else passes by. Thanks!

  37. Amanita muscaria

    […] a credible write-up about eating Amanita on Hunter. Angler. Gardener. Cook., but it’s just not high on my list of things to […]

  38. Odyseas Macedon

    Hallo from north Greece! we do eat them after boiling for a while…my favorite recipe is frying them in olive oil with onions and adding at the end eggs and turmeric a great tasting omelette!
    i have heard of a story though that happened during 2nd world war at the forest next to my home, a group of partisans ate lots off them, cause of starving and they ended up killing each other… its recorded officially by doctors. Maybe they combined it with wine or with pantherine …

  39. Angus

    This mushroom is indeed ‘psychedelic’, at larger doses (i.e. 1, 2, 3 + full dried caps), but at slightly more moderate doses, after proper drying (and smoking/singeing to kill any bugs therein before the drying process), say, a piece the size of a US quarter, or even two quarters, steeped in cold water for 30 minutes, gives something more of a tonic effect, such as experienced by a larger dose of ginseng, but with its own very distinct character. You can, of course, boil off the chemical muscimol, and they are delicious tasting as a simple mushroom, but why miss out on the energy aspect of this beautiful herb? It’s a wonderful fungus for musical appreciation, as well as when lots of energy is needed to do some labor, but watch out! cause you might not know your own strength. Indeed, this mushroom can make us exaggerate movements in ways that we weren’t expecting, as well as give us physical hallucination, such as where you think you are holding on to something, but there is nothing there (such as, with holding a cigarette or joint). Again, this is mostly an issue at higher doses, and starting with a small, even homeopathic dose will give most people an idea of the character of the red Santa fungus. 🙂

  40. Peter

    Brilliant article.
    It reminds me of the old saying here in England- ”
    “ALL Mushrooms are edible. But some of them only ONCE !”

  41. Jake Sebastian

    Awesome Article and Comments!

    Where in California are the best places to hunt for the these mushrooms? I live in LA.

  42. redd

    just got my hands on some and will be giving these a test. interested in both the spiritual and the culinary experiences. if i can remember to come back i will definitely give my analysis of these beauties. I live in the NE US and coniferous trees are EVERYWHERE, however i have not seen these in my lifetime growing wild in my region. I will be taking specimens out and grinding them up and spreading them about in hopes that the spores will germinate a bountiful yield in time. If successful, i will become the “Johnny Appleseed” of fly agaric. lol! Wish us luck!

  43. Kadet Kat

    Hi! I did a small article about amanita muscaria and quoted you 🙂 thanks for sharing your experience! I can’t wait to try some.

  44. Amanita Muscaria | An Artist's Guide to Mushrooms

    […] Now after reading they could be eaten, of course I want to try them! There is a lot of great information on how to prepare A. muscaria, most all coming down to about to same thing. Sourced from Honest Food: […]

  45. Mo

    When we tried them years ago, the smallest little bit was enough to send us over the rainbow for about 6 hours. VERY strongly dissociative! Unlike other magic shrooms which make things look smaller, Amanita magnifies things larger. Shades of Alice in wonderland? I was suddenly *seeing the secrets of the time/space continuum. Being the syllogistic forensic type, I tried to make notes, about 40 pages of gibberish that made perfect sense at the time. Went to the restroom, what a mistake (mushroom kraps: feels like you need to, but you sit there forever and the tiniest thing comes out). While on the john, the roses in the wallpaper came to life…

    About 40 minutes later I came to my senses. Where was I? My face was pressed flat against the ground it seems, but no.. I was smashed into the wall. I’m certain that I had been trying to enter that rose garden.

    The amount we took was miniscule, about the size of the tip of your pencil. There is just no controlling that high, and unlike dung-shrooms, smoking some good weed did nothing. Usually it provides a life-raft so to speak, and leveled out the ups and downs of a trip, but Amanita was all UP, all the time! Other mushies make my legs feel like jello, and my joints ache. Not so with Amanita, although I didn’t take enough to feel the strength of the berserkers (nor their fury), I could sense the *strength they might be referring to, but just in the background.

    Same as any other trip though in the sense that I didn’t see stuff that wasn’t there. I never have! I just see stuff that is there in a different way. It breathes, there are halos of light, psychic experiences but no pink dragons, unicorns, fairies or the perfunctory visit from Jesus.

    I’d do it again but only as an experiment under certain circumstances. Otherwise I advise the kids DO NOT TOUCH THIS, even if you have a babysitter, they can’t do anything to talk you down. You are just… gone.

    You can see why the mystery cults had to tie their maenads up sometimes so they wouldn’t go batshit on everyone.

  46. Kari

    I know nothing about mushrooms at all. I live in the Black Hills of South Dakota and was walking in the forest with my dogs and saw this beautiful bright orange and white speckled mushroom. I had to google it, and came upon this site. It was a very interesting read. I won’t be harvesting any wild shrooms, but when I walk the forest and see them, I will think of all this interesting information, Alice, and all of you! Kari

  47. Scott

    We REALLY want to try these! We live close to Las Vegas, but can easily travel to surrounding states. Can anyone give us a location, (city/state), and a time of year when they grow? We promise not to pick them all! 🙂

  48. Alf

    I picked mine on the Northern Californian Coast.

    “One (…) went so far as to drink his own urine after consuming the mushroom in the manner of the Siberians who believed the urine contained a more purified form of the hallucinogenic compounds”

    I also did this; after consuming 2 dry mushrooms. I recycled my urine a couple times for ~ the strongest experience of my psychedelic career. Definitely stronger than 3.5g cubensis. Astral projection.

    I would generally recommend smaller tonic amounts.

    I nibbled on the raw mushroom in the forest because I saw animals had been doing the same. I got great energy and was bounding through the forest in an excellent mood from a single nibble!

    Sautéed in butter tastes lovely. Amanita; the secret ingredient of French chefs. I read Muscimol is a better flavor enhancer than MSG… so don’t throw out all the actives if you want a delicious and uplifting dish!

  49. Lena

    Loved this article and love how you’re living. I found fly agaric in my yard a few weeks ago, I googled it because we got a puppy and I was wondering if it was safe. I’ve seen them all over in Anchorage and thought it was a shame they shouldn’t be eaten. I’ll definitely try your recipe!

  50. KNOX me JAMES

    I’m here on the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage, Alaska and every Fall during the rainy season I see these guys popping up under our white birch stands. I’ll have to invite the neighbors over and see if your boiling methods really work.
    Just kiddin but next time I come across a fiery rush of them- I’ll definitely give them a try.

  51. Jennifer Eldridge

    Wondering where these little gems grow. Live in Southern Illinois close to So.Illinois University. What time of year do you hunt them?

  52. Charli

    Found a couple of these under a spruce in Maryland and was wondering what they were. They are the yellow with orange tops as pictured above. Lovely. Next time I see them I’ll have to pick them. Isn’t this a little south for them?

  53. Melissa

    I found mushrooms that look (well I THINK they look) just like these…. In Toledo, OH. I wish I could post a picture because I’m curious if that’s what they really are.
    P.S. I did not touch them.

  54. Dr.vern

    WOW! This is what I’ve been looking for. These are growing everywhere in the pine grove behind my house. They are so big and Beautiful I thought what a shame they are toxic. But, you have given me hope that maybe this could be a great food sourse. I will definatly try your recipe soon as they are fruiting right now. I would love to know what other mushrooms grow here in south carolina. cause I love them. If anyone could me please let me know!

  55. be careful!

    My father ate a large cap yesterday morning, fried in butter. We live in ohio. My mother found him six hours later, incontinent, unresponsive, salivating excessivey in bed. Our tenant had watched him eat it, it was the only reason we knew what was wrong. Thousands of dollars in medical dept later he is awake, illegibly writing the “warm dreams” he remembers, asking what would happen if he left the hospital now. (ANSWER: 1 in 6 chance of death) I guess I wish he’d read this and boiled it, but you should be careful with this shit, some people think they are invincible…

  56. DRVERN


  57. Alain Boisvert

    Want the truth and nothing but about this mushroom? Google mushrooms and mankind… It will blow your mind folks!

  58. Mc'Funkula

    found 2 lots of troops growing, picked only the young ones and left the larger ones to spore, plus they were infested with bugs. 5 sizeable new caps prepared, boiled them for 20 minutes in the vinegar and salt solution and surprisingly the water turned red. fresh water boil and preserved in an olive oil, vinegar and garlic mix. in hind sight, olive oil only would have been better as they will be eaten soon.
    will report back after consumption…

  59. Port Ludlow Washington/Olympic Peninsula

    Just found a flush of A.muscaria,or at least that is my best guess,right in a parking lot where I take my recycling I looked around for more but it was just one area that I found them,first I have seen around here,beautiful… I am a little uncertain about eating them,your information is much appreciated.

  60. Andrew

    What are the dangerous look-alikes, so I can avoid them? I’ve been googling and googling and I don’t see anything very dangerous that could *easily* be mistaken for an amanita muscara. Everything I can find in red/orange/yellow with white spots seems safe except for the same ibotenic acid/muscimol thay you can boil out of the muscaria…

  61. Sabina willis

    Interesting, i was out in Trent Park, Oakwood London at the kids play area and my daughter saw one by the tree and touched it. Being bright red like that can only mean danger. Googled red and white mushrooms and happy i did. But to think its growing right next to a childrens play area.

  62. Stephen Marley

    A. muscaria has numerous variants across the globe. Evidently, the level of toxicity can vary depending on numerous variables – like region, soil (including root associations) and, perhaps, even seasonal changes. I think too many folks are drawn to experiment with these fungi without really considering the consequences, while others imagine themselves to be far more expert mycophagist’s than the reality.

  63. Brian R Gard

    Yes, I ate a quart pot full of them on a back pack trip to Bighorn Crags Idaho Frank Church Wilderness in the Salmon National Forest, I misidentified them, they were just coming through the forest floor of pine duff. Not soon after I went for a little walk as nature was calling, and barely made it back to my camp, I got in the tent and was ‘knocked out’ for 12 hours, during the night I was convulsive and had severe muscle spasms, all I remember was dreaming, at dawn Salmon Search and Rescue arrived on foot and horseback to extract me, summoned by my cell phone by my 10 year old son, the horses however could not get to our camp so 2 hours later I was extracted by Black Hawk Helicopter via 101st Airbourne Division to Steele Memorial Hospital Salmon where I spent 2 days, I hallucinated for 2 days, and was severely high and euphoric for four days, it took nine days for the high to go away. We went back a year later and identified the Mushrooms, they were yellowish brown, but definitely a species of Amanita, it had rained for 10 days strait before we arrived and there was lots and lots of these mushrooms as well as others. Two days after I was air lifted from our remote camp close friend of 33 years went in to get what was left of my camp and had a heart attack and died. A case of truth being odder than fiction.

  64. Richard Gill

    I can report from the Netherlands, that Dutch A. muscaria is extremely tasty. I followed Hank Shaw’s instructions except that I cooked the stalks along with the caps. I stuck to the 15 minutes with a lot of water, with quite a bit of salt and a little vinegar, plus an extra 5 minutes in fresh water. It is being an exceptionally good year for wild mushrooms.

  65. Perry Hoek

    Thank you for this recept ,I will try it.
    There are lost of Amanita Muscaria at the moment here.
    The Netherlands.

  66. Debbie Viess

    Hi Hank,
    This is certainly a storied mushroom, fun to see, fun to talk about, fun to speculate upon, but sometimes not so fun when eaten. As you know, I wrote a well-researched rebuttal to the Rubel/Arora paper, published last December in “Mushroom, the Journal of Wild Mushrooming.” During my several years of research into this topic, I discovered a number of modern deaths attributed to eating muscaria. People who were not quite cautious enough and ate too much as a drug, not for food, fell into a coma, and died from aspirating vomitus or freezing to death. There have also been more visits to the ER by folks who over-indulged in muscaria, and some of them are citing the Arora paper as the reason that they did.

    I also discovered several documented recent deaths in Tanzania, where locals ate muscaria as food, after mistaking them for commonly eaten reddish amanitas in the caesarea group. Muscaria was introduced into Tanzania on the roots of pine trees, in an area where they didn’t grow before.

    This is far from a “harmless” mushroom. It IS the toxic lookalike. Yes, with careful and special preparation, you can boil away most of the toxins (don’t forget to throw out that toxic water, too!), but then you have also boiled away the flavor. Carmelizing those soggy bits is what adds it back. But why in heaven’s name would you start with a toxic mushroom, anyway?

    But don’t take my word for it. Read the entire paper here:

    Enjoy the rains and the many beautiful and sometimes even truly edible mushrooms that they are creating. I know that I am!

    Debbie Viess
    Bay Area Mycological Society

  67. Reynald Bell

    I live in Miami Florida , and as yet I haven’t seen any in the Everglades. I’m willing to follow the recipe to the letter. Do they grow this far south, or am I wasting my time?

  68. Steve Ziegler

    These can be found as far south as middle Georgia – any further south and I can’t tell you but definitely mid GA. They grow all around my lake property (on Lake Jackson; there are allot of pine trees around), but I am not one to chance trying them.

  69. Flowerwriter

    They can be found in Kentucky, as well. I used to live in northern California in the Sierra Nevada Mountains around 3,000′ elevation. When these mushrooms were in their full “flush” random people would show up wearing knee pads and crawl around the forest floor to LICK the red caps. Do you know anything about this or what this might taste like? Only a few would actually pick them (with my approval and warning, of course).

  70. Chad Low

    Cool cool read Hank. I have primarily (and sadly) spent most my time on the venison, waterfowl, and pheasant pages on here, and stumbled on to this by accident.

    I absolutely love wild mushrooms. And although I have been picking and eating morels for over 10 years now, I am probably still a beginner when it comes to identifying mushrooms. I have had a copy of Arora’s Mushrooms Demystified, and didn’t start using it seriously at all until just this last year.

    Well here in Northern Utah we had an unusually rainy august and September which led to an absolutely incredible late summer/early fall push of mushrooms – which, being mostly a morel hunter, was completely new to me. It was a great opportunity to learn to use MD, but it was almost overwhelming the amount of species that were out and abundant.

    So we made a pretty good haul of kings and a few other boletes – but sadly missed the best of it. We sauted up a bunch, and dried quite a few more. They have been great in your recipes calling for dried shrooms BTW. But on our last foray, we struggled to find many kings that were in good shape, but the agarics were straight GOING OFF. Kinda like the flush you describe here, although they were the more yellow variety – no red to speak of, and it would be tough to say they had any orange. Man they were beautiful specimens though. I spent a lot of time admiring them wishing they were edible.

    It’s winter here right now, so while you have been cleaning up, I have been licking my chops for spring! Sure hope the rain comes again in Aug and Sept tho. I want a do-over!!

  71. Chad

    I once got mushrooms called Mexican red caps. I ate them and rather enjoyed my trip with no ill effects. Some months later I googled the name and came to learn what they are. I’m certainly interested in finding my own in the future. The trip felt rather more intense than that of the other psycho active mushrooms I have eaten. I only ate a few small caps and stems but I enjoyed myself.

  72. Steve

    I found this blog and I don’t know how. I like it!

    I could not contain myself when I read the gentlemans post above. The one in all caps. I appreciate his insight and experience. I do not take eating mushrooms lightly and heed the repeated warnings given by all.

    But that all caps post had me roaring! I just saw someone all tripping out saying it’s not so bad, really it isn’t!

  73. Tahsha

    Would the spore prints of deadly amanitas differ from the ones you can boil? I know the spore prints are white, but would anything clearly set them apart doing a print?

  74. DannyD

    I live in Ontario and these little buggers are everywhere, btw you can eat a proper Amanita muscaria on its own, minor stomach cramps, (nothing compared to Peyote) and a sky high trip more powerful than mexican blue caps. not a food mushroom hunter here 🙂 just a boy scout that learned how to get f****d up for free

  75. Erick

    if you dont want to die stick to red caps and white spots (this can be washed away by rain tho), no yellow, no orange or yellow to red fade.

  76. William Ashley

    I’ve recently found an orange cap fly agaric along with the usual boletes I eat regularly. I found false moral earlier this year, and have parboiled it previously. I’ve been foraging for about 10 years now. I am wondering if alchohol such as rum can be substituted for the vinegar, as all I have is ukrainian ginvodka and mexican rum no vinegar. I am very curious about this. I’ve eaten tons of mushrooms so far chantrelle have been the tastiest, but I am very curious on this. Will research more. I have been trying to dry it out on a Mayan style mushroom head sitting monkey sandstone or limestone idol I got around Catamaco Veracruz Tabasco Mexico. I usually dry out my mushrooms by placing them in the round holes of the arms. It works, not sure if that is its traditional use as a mushroom drying altar. Will report back later this week on how things went. Its been cloudy with sparse rain so drying is being delayed a litte.

  77. William Ashley

    Forgot to add I am in the boreal forests of Central Canada about 50 deegrees north in Ontario.

  78. Brian Gard

    The best way, is too get about half a cup of fresh Amanita Muscaria fresh and coming out of the ground, place the half cup in large 1 or 2 quart thermos, with 1 fresh squeezed orange, 2 black tea bags and 2 teaspoons of honey, now let the concoction brew for two hours, than pour out the fluid and strain the mushroom parts from the fluid. Now in a safe setting slowly drink the warm delicious tea one cup at a time and wait one hour, keep at it until the quart is done or you feel so heavenly you cannot take anymore. To waste these
    wonderful mushrooms by boiling off the ‘essential ingredients’ simply to eat them, a criminal waste of resources. No experience in your life will be better if you have fresh potent Amanita Muscaria (after an August Rain), I know recently had some from Frank Church Wilderness of no Return Idaho.

  79. Justin Witt

    Just got back from Salmon fishing up on the Kola Peninsula and found a bunch of these, all of which I hauled home with me. Really looking forward to trying them. Thanks again, as always, for maintaining this wonderful site!

  80. Charles Robertson

    I am pretty concerned about some of the comments here. It seems like there are quite a few amateur mushroom hunters, who could end up very ill, or worse. I have been picking mushrooms for more than 35 years, and I would probably not pick Amanita Muscaria. In fact the most prized mushroom on earth is from the Amanita family, called Caesar’s Mushroom [Amanita Caesarea], but please be very, very, very careful when picking Amanitas.

  81. Debbie Viess

    As to truly edible, non-toxic amanitas … there are close to seventy named species of amanitas that are eaten as edibles and even sold in markets all around the world. Muscaria is NOT one of them!

    Hank has emphasized in both his post here and in the trailing comments, amanitas are NOT a group to mess with if you are a beginner. Deadly amanitas occur all over the world, and cause deaths on a regular basis. The more wild mushrooms are eaten in a society, the greater the number of deaths. Don’t become a statistic!

    As to the European Caesars: it is indeed a highly valued edible in Amanita section Caesarea, but I would say that every country has its favorite edible amanita. Saying that caesarea is “the best amanita” is merely a Eurocentric perspective!

    I recently tried the SW caesar, provisional name Amanita “cochiseana,” picked outside of Flagstaff this past August, and it was absolutely delicious: MUCH better than either of our two western caesars, the fall coccora (A. calyptroderma) and the spring coccora (A. vernicoccora). It even resembles the European caesar in its orange coloration.

    I share Hank’s affection for Amanita velosa, my hands down favorite edible in CA, but it is not a caesar’s mushrooms. In fact, it is one of the colorful grisettes.

    Velosas are not just delicious, but potentially deadly. It would be easy for a beginner to mistake a velosa for both a tan capped Amanita phalloides (death cap) or an ocreata (destroying angel); mushrooms come in many different forms and colors, even within species. Velosas frequently show a pure white form, and can literally grow right next to the deadly ocreata under oak trees in the spring. I have also seen almost identical phalloides and velosa growing nearby each other in the Sierra foothills.

    It scared me and it should scare you.

    Amanitas are very popular edible species around the world (not muscaria though; the incidence of its accepted edibility was way over-stated in the Rubel/Arora paper), but in places outside of the US, amanitas are often purchased in markets, and not directly foraged by random consumers.

    Best to admire those beautiful amanitas from afar … afar from your mouth, at any rate, at least for the first several years of mushroom foraging.

    Yours in amanita education,

    Debbie Viess aka Amanitarita

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  83. NW Mushroomer

    This year (2015) was a bust on amanita AND porcini (and chanterelle, and chicken of the woods, and…) because I do have a market for dried caps, but I know several SE Asians and a few Euro transplants that peel the red skin off then eat them, no parboiling, just saute. With autoimmune disorders, it’s not something I want to try if something went ‘wrong’, I already deal with muscle cramps/spasms, nausea, etc. I’d love to be able to get out for morel season, though. Near Long Beach, WA, found a truckload of elfin saddle…NOT edible, but funky looking. The other gyromitra someone mentioned I think is that they call a ‘brain’ mushroom in E. WA/Idaho. But what they call a cauliflower over there is a coral mushroom (HUGE clusters, can be a foot or more in diameter), unlike the cauliflower on this side of the Cascades that looks like a bowl of cooked egg noodles.

  84. Aina

    Hello. I am Lithuanian who grew up in Dzukija (south Lithuanian region famous for its mushrooms). Ive spent all my childhood and younger years in the forests and can name all mushrooms in my region. What you have said about Lithuanians eating this mushroom is TOTAL LIE. This is in fact the first mushroom our mums tell not to touch, pick or eat. Don’t spread the lies please…

  85. Bridgit

    Is it true that they are even unsafe to touch w/bare hands??? I don’t know much about mushrooms other than they are delicious but my Mom always warned us to not touch the red ones.

  86. Becky

    The orange/yellow ones are not amanita muscaria. They are amanita guessowii. Handle and prepare like muscaria.

  87. Debbie Viess

    Casually touching a cap? Not a problem. But it’s a matter of degree and dosage.
    If you merely handle large amounts of wet muscaria over time, like one fellow I know who dried a bunch of muscaria caps, and another Professor that I know whose students were testing muscaria and pantherina for ibotenic acid levels in his college lab, without wearing gloves, you can indeed absorb some of those toxins right through your skin, enough to feel some of those unpleasant altho certainly not fatal effects. You would have to actually eat a large amount of unboiled muscaria to get to the point of convulsions or coma or even death.

    One can actually eat a single small slice of muscaria unboiled, and feel nothing but pleasure at its flavor (I have done this, once). Like I said, dose dependent. But I don’t recommend eating muscaria, whether boiled first or merely panfried or merely eaten dried for a more trippy experience.

    Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that it is a good idea, for all. And that is beyond the issue of whether your amanita ID skills are up to par!

    Interesting historical info on guessowii, or the yellow eastern muscaria, which was missed by Rubel or at least not remarked on in his paper (nor in mine; you have to stop at some point, or you end up with a book!) … apparently some populations of this mushroom in the NE are wholly nontoxic. Over a hundred years ago, Charles Peck, the official NY state botanist, received much correspondence about both plants and fungi. At least three people wrote him that they had eaten yellow muscaria as an edible species without any special preparation at all, and were unharmed and not inebriated afterwards. But of course, that’s a bit of Russian Roulette, and you can’t assume that your particular patch of guessowii is wholly non-toxic. There was also a report to Peck of a sheep that ate yellow muscaria and suffered no adverse effects. Even other animals get “high” from ingesting the ibotenic acid and muscimol found in muscaria, pantherina, etc., and they behave in a bizarre a manner, just like we would if we ate it unboiled.

    Despite that handful of folks who ate apparently non-toxic yellow muscaria, and those who also reported parboiling it first to remove toxins, Peck was unambiguous in his recommendations: he considered muscaria to be a DEADLY amanita, on a par with phalloides. In hindsight, we no longer believe this to be true (the deadly part, at least not like phalloides is deadly), but muscaria is indeed a highly toxic and potentially dangerous mushroom. We have to wonder what happened to folks in the past that it had the widespread reputation of being deadly? Were folks actually dying from eating muscaria? I tried very hard to track down the truth, but could find no proof one way or the other in the historical record. Physicians writing at the same time as Peck commonly called it deadly, but I couldn’t find revealing case studies.

    As to Lithuanians eating muscaria as food … I wonder if this was or is really widespread. Certainly there are differences of opinion around the world, even in countries where a few individuals do indeed prepare muscaria as an edible species. Rubel’s wife is Lithuanian, so I suppose that really doesn’t count if she only began to eat it recently. I do believe that it was David Arora who first alerted Rubel to muscaria’s potential as an edible species, after Arora had traveled to the Nagano Region of Japan and observed locals gathering muscaria while he filled his basket with porcini.

    There is a verifiable history of Lithuanians using muscaria as an inebriant, and there is still a lively online market for dried caps of “potent” Lithuanian muscaria for “research” purposes. I could find no real evidence of it being an accepted edible species in Lithuania, however.

    Altho a few Russians may also eat muscaria pickled (they pretty much eat every mushroom pickled), the vast majority of Russians shun muscaria as a well known, highly toxic mushroom. And no one can accuse the Russians of being a fungi phobic society!

    As Hank has rightly pointed out, this is a well storied mushroom, with both proponents (for its entheogenic properties or its medicinal properties or even, rarely, as an edible species) and those who rightly fear it. It is always a fascinating topic for discussion, but just like your Momma told you, you don’t have to put everything into your mouth.

    Thanks Hank, for hosting this very interesting thread.

  88. Ando

    Finns don’ eat them either.

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