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91 responses to “Eating Santa’s Shroom”

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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…



  10. Alain Boisvert

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

  11. 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…

  12. 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.

  13. 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…

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Perry Hoek

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

  19. 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

  20. 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?

  21. 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.

  22. 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).

  23. 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!!

  24. 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.

  25. 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!

  26. 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?

  27. 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

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. William Ashley

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

  31. 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.

  32. 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!

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