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Mushrooms can improve the taste of any dish. However, this tasty ingredient in food can do a lot of harm. Mushrooms collected by themselves in the forest can cause severe poisoning and even death. Therefore, before harvesting yourself, it is worth knowing what the edible mushrooms look like and how you can distinguish them from poisonous toadstools.

Every year dozens of people in Poland are poisoned with mushrooms . In 2016, there were 46 of them, and in 2022 - 24, and in 2022 fortunately fewer - 16, but in 2022 - as many as 27. The most common reason was poisoning the toadstool (which can easily be confused with the red and spotted toadstool). Sometimes these poisonings are fatal. That is whyeducationis so important, as well as a lot ofcautionduring the mushroom hunting expedition.

Which edible mushrooms occur in Poland?

Contrary to appearances, the number of edible mushroom species in Poland is not great, as it covers only several dozen items. And the most appreciated are mushrooms such as:

Boletus

Boletus edulis grows in deciduous, coniferous and mixed forests. It can be recognized by a light brown or dark brown hat (if young, the hat is white), the surface of which is matte and smooth. The stem is white, sand or gray-white and ranges from 1.5 to 10 cm in thickness.

Boletus can be easily confused with inedible boletus, because they have a very similar appearance. To tell them apart, you need to slice the mushroom. If it turns brown, then it is bitterness. The boletus keeps its color.

Pine boletus

You can meet him in coniferous forests. It always grows next to a pine tree. He has a cherry suede hat and a red handle (the young is white). In Poland, it can be harvested from August to October.

Reticulated boletus

It is distinguished by a dark, cushioned hat and a bulky stem covered with a fine mesh. It grows in deciduous forests, also mixed. It appears at the end of May and can be harvested until the end of August.

Mountain boletus

Mountain boletus is yellowish under the stem and has yellowish tubes, and has a beige, cracked cap. When it is cut through, you can see a slightly creamy flesh.

Oyster mushroomoyster

The oyster mushroom has a short, whitish shaft. The hat comes in a variety of colors - it can be brown, gray, blue or even a shade of purple. Its surface is smooth and matte. Please note that only young specimens are suitable for eating. The old ones are not only tasteless, but also stringy.

Czubajka kania

The hat of this mushroom is quite impressive, because its diameter can reach up to 30 cm. When he is young, his hat is brown. But then it shines and can even become white. It has a cracked and dry surface.

Koźlarz babka

Koźlarz goby appears from July to November in mixed forests, groves and parks. Usually it can be found under a birch tree. The goat's hat ranges in color from dark walnut to brown and even gray, and the tubes underneath the hat are white or gray. The goatman is velvety to the touch.

Only his hat is suitable for eating, as the shaft is fibrous and therefore simply unpalatable.

Red goatman

The red goat bird appears in forests from July to October, most often it can be found under poplar and aspen. The mushroom cap takes a red-brown, brick-red or light red color. There are white tubes under the hat, which may be olive in older specimens. The mushroom stem is slightly bulbous or club-shaped.

Buttermilk yellow

The yellow buttercup usually grows under larch and appears from June to September. He has a golden yellow, yellow, or yellow-brown hat.

The tubes underneath first turn yellow and then turn olive. The shaft, on the other hand, is golden yellow or yellow-orange in color and has a mesh on top.

Granny butterfish

We collect it from May to October. It is found in coniferous forests, most often grows under pine trees. It has a bright handle with a grain (it looks as if someone has sprinkled sand on it). Its convex, hemispherical hat is ocher or brown in color.

Little butterflies

The spotted butterflies grows in various forests. The color of the hat ranges from yellow (in young mushrooms) to olive or dirty orange. On the underside it has darker tubes that turn bluish when cut. Its smell resembles needles.

Mleczaj rydz

It can be found in coniferous forests, it grows mainly near pines. The hat is rather flat and becomes sunken over time. It has a characteristic orange color. In addition, when cut, it gives off an orange juice with a carrot flavor and brings out a fruit-like scent.

Sandstonechestnut

The chestnut sandstone has a cap similar to a cherry-colored boletus, which becomes cracked on the top over time. From the bottom it has small white tubes, which later turn yellow (what is important: they do not turn purple when cut). Chestnut sandstone grows mainly under oaks in deciduous forests.

Modrzak sandstone

Although it is rare, it appears in mountain and foothill areas if it does. It grows in deciduous or coniferous forests under beech, oak, birch and pine trees. Its color is straw yellow, often with cracks on the top. The flesh is white but turns blue when cut. Characteristic for the larch is that blue spots appear where the hat is crushed.

Brown boletus

The brown boletus occurs both in coniferous and mixed forests, most often it grows under pine or spruce. Young mushrooms are black in color with a semicircular cap and tucked edges. They lighter with age, becoming brown, brown or chestnut-colored and with a flat hat and curled ends.

Olive-yellow tubes on the underside of the hat under the influence of a purple cut. The body of the boletus can be bulky, and the flesh inside it is white or cream.

Coarse puffball

It can be found in every stand: deciduous, coniferous and mixed. When the mushroom is young, it takes a spherical shape, but as it matures, it becomes pear-shaped or even club-shaped. The young mushroom is white, while the older one is yellow.

Edible scard

The fungus is under protection, it occurs in coniferous and deciduous forests as well as in meadows. It appears from April to June. The mushroom cap resembles honeycombs and is brownish yellow in color. The flesh, on the other hand, is whitish with a waxy consistency.

Although the morel, as its name suggests, is edible, it must not be eaten raw as it can be harmful. We eat it only after heat treatment.

Conical scard

Occurs from mid-April to the end of May, however, it is protected, so it cannot be collected. It is quite a rare specimen in Poland. If it already occurs, it is most often in mountainous areas. His hat is ribbed with pits, conical in shape. Its color ranges from olive to gray-brown and black-brown.

Easily confused with the poisonous maroon fungus. In order to distinguish between them, remember that the chestnut frond has a more corrugated head, resembling a brain, and is also brown or red in color.

What ischaracteristic of a deadly poisonous mushroom is its nutty smell, which is absent from morels.

Edible mushrooms in Poland - see photos and descriptions

See the gallery of 22 photos

How to pick mushrooms correctly?

Picking mushrooms, like any other activity in the forest, is subject to the regulations. It is assumed that mushrooms are not collected in reservations, on private lands, or in places where a new forest is being built.

It is also important when collecting the mushroom to cover the mycelium, from which new individuals will be formed. If we do not do this, we should not be surprised in the second year that there are less and less mushrooms in the forest.

Mushroom pickers should also take to heart that toadstools should not be destroyed or trampled on, as they are food for forest animals.

Collected mushrooms are best placed in a wicker basket in which they can breathe. If we put them in a plastic bag, the protein in the mushrooms will break down and form poison. Then, after transporting their home and eating them, they can cause harm, even if they are edible mushrooms.

When collecting mushrooms, the technique of removing them is also important. The best and recommended by mushroom scientists is to twist them out of the ground. You can also cut them with a knife, but then we lose very valuable information, namely: it is difficult for us to recognize what is an edible mushroom, and what is, for example, a toadstool.

The danger increases when an edible mushroom symbiotes with the same tree as the poisonous mushroom and is deceptively similar to the latter.

So how do you recognize what is a poisonous mushroom and what is not?

Watching its ending (that's why it's better to twist the mushroom out than to cut it). Toadstools very often have tubers at the very end. They are usually difficult to see because they are deep in the ground. But when we gently push the soil around the mushroom aside and twist it all the way out, we can see that it is surrounded by a sheath at the very end. Edible mushrooms do not have such.

What else distinguishes toadstools from edible mushrooms?

An example is the tip of a kite, which can easily be mistaken for a toadstool - toadstools have gills that connect directly to the "ring" around the stem. They are stuck to it.

Edible mushrooms, such as the top of a kite, on the other hand, have a ring that surrounds the stem loosely, not joined to the gills, and can easily be moved up and down. The kite also has a hollow shaft inside, and the toadstool has a full flesh.

What to do when we're not sure what kind of mushroom it is?

If, after harvesting, nowe are sure if the mushrooms in the basket are edible, let's compare them with the photos in the mushroom atlas. If we do not have one, take them to the nearest sanitary station. There, employees should give us advice and dispel our doubts about the mushroom species. When we are far from the Sanepid, then we can consult a proven mushroom expert.

One of the most famous is Justyn Kołek, who - as he recalls, even receives 200 phone calls a day, giving people advice about mushrooms. Such a specialist is able to decide over the phone whether a given mushroom is poisonous or not.

It is enough for a mushroom expert to ask the right questions, that is: in what forest was the mushroom picked, under what tree, what hat it has, what gills - and by the thread to the ball he can solve the mystery of the mushroom species. In this way, he can save many people from poisoning.

Why is it worth eating mushrooms?

Eating mushrooms has a number of he alth benefits. First of all, they are a good source of minerals, including:

  • potassium,
  • phosphorus,
  • magnesium,
  • calcium
  • and sodium.

They also include:

  • B vitamins (e.g. B1, B2, B6),
  • and also PP,
  • H.
  • and fat-soluble vitamins - vitamin A and E.

The highest value of the above-mentioned ingredients is found in mushrooms right after picking. The longer it takes for them to be removed from the soil to eat, the less nutrients we will get with eating them.

Although we know the value of antioxidants that neutralize free radicals, we usually do not suspect that fungi are a very good source of them. They contain, for example, a compound called ergothionenine, which is not produced by higher plants or animals, but when introduced into their body, it exhibits antioxidant, chemo- and radioprotective and antimutagenic properties. In addition, it protects not only the fungi that produce it, but also those individuals that take it with food.

In addition to their nutritional properties, mushrooms also have healing properties. Mushrooms contain a large amount of phenolic compounds that protect against oxidative damage. In this way, they prevent the destruction and degradation of cell membranes, structural proteins and enzymes. In addition, they have antiviral properties (e.g. they counteract against influenza A and B viruses), antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal.

They also stimulate the immune system to fight pathogens and are protectiveaction on the heart and its functions.

Mushrooms are also the best source of currently produced antibiotics, e.g. agarodoxin comes from the field mushroom, and its action is directed against the golden staphylococcus.

In turn, flamulin - anti-inflammatory, is obtained from the velveteen winterhouse. Lactaryovialin is produced by milk rice and is used against mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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