A delicious edible parasol mushroom that is certainly worth the hunt! It was my first time finding these this year and oh man was I ever excited!!
While this mushroom is a wonderful intermediate edible mushroom, and a long sought after edible for mushroom hunters, it does take a little extra time and expertise to make sure you have the right mushroom. There is another mushroom , called the (Chlorophyllum molybdites) false parasol, which is very similar in appearance, yet lacks quite a few characteristics that can distinguish it from the shaggy. You defiantly do not want to mix these mushrooms up, becasue from what I have read and heard, the false parasol can make you VERY SICK. It wont kill you, BUT, it will make you feel like you want to die for the next 24 hours after consumption. That does not sound fun at all!
Ok so lets get down to the important stuff. Something that every mushroom hunter should learn how to do it to take a spore print. Spore prints will help you to positively identify every mushroom you come across, as spore prints are sort of like finger prints to each species. With the false parasol, the spore print will be a green, and with the shaggy parasol, the spore print will be a creamy white or white color. This is the first and best way to identify the shaggy parasol if you are unsure, and It is a fairly simple process. What I recommend is when you find one, bring it home and do a spore print. To do a spore print, you need black paper( becasue the spores for the shaggy are white) With other mushrooms , you can use white paper.
You can remove the stem from the cap gently, and then place the cap, gills down onto the black paper. Add a drop of water to the top of the cap, and leave it be overnight. Another way is to place a glass cup over top of the cap, but this way works just as well. I did mine before I went to bed, and in the morning, I had a table full of spore prints!
So this is what a spore print ll look like. As my kids say, it looks like an eye! nd yes thats a great analogy, becasue as every single human beings eyes are different, so are spore prints!! So fascinating for sure. So maybe you are wondering what the hell spores even are?
Spore are like the seeds of the mushrooms. Each Mushroom will release millions of tiny microscopic spores , that are released from inside the gills or pores of a fungi, and are spread along the ground through other means like animals eating, or wind, or even bugs passing by. This is also why they seem to pop up right after a rain fall, the water droplets will cause the mushroom to release its spores!
Alright, so now that we have positively identified the Shaggy parasol through spore prints, lets get onto some other very important distinguishing characteristics that can help you to identify the shaggy right there in the field. I am a little more experienced then your average mushroom newbie, so i was able to identify the shaggy first by checking out the characteristics, and then I brought the whole batch home, to do a spore print, However, I was already certain of the species before I harvested the batch. If you are not certain by 100% then DO NOT HARVEST a whole batch. Bring one home, spore print it and then go back to the spot within 24 hours to harvest.
Lets get down to the facts.
STEM- The stem on young mushrooms will bruise a reddish saffron color when you cut the stem. It will literally turn color right before your eyes. It has a white movable double ring below the cap. Stem is reddish brown with age. Sometimes you can find the caps completely flat, but this is rare.
FOOT- the base or foot of the stem will be round and bulbous, like a green onion stalk.
CAP- will be shaggy, like shaggy little tufts hanging off the cap. The cap itself will be white , and the tufts will be brownish. with age, the cap will turn from a white to light brownish. Initially bun shaped and then convex with age.
GILLS - they are soft, white , free and crowded. The are brittle when touched and can turn a slight reddish color when bruised.
If you can follow all of these characteristics of the shaggy parasol, you will be sure to identify them in the field and be able to bring a batch home to eat!
So now that you have been walking in the woods, and you came across this beautiful patch of shaggys, you have positively identified them , and you harvested a bunch, brought them home.... Now what ? Dont worry, I got cha!!
Best thing to do, atleast what worked for me, Is to make some space on your counter, remove each stem, and lay your caps out flat on the table. I waited overnight to do anything with mine, as I was waiting forthe spore prints for you fine people, but also I needed to make sure all them bugs have moved along. I am sure there is still going to be some extra protein hidden in the caps, but I have found that this type of edible mushroom does not have much in regards to bug infestations, with the exception of the oldest caps. I did find one cap that was double th size of my largest cap in this above photo but I choose to leave it so that it can spread it spores for future generations of mushrooms but also it was just really old. Now that I have waited over night, first thing in the morning I started the process of chopping. The stems are a bit woody, so you can peel them but I left them how they were. Its you're choice. to chop, I just took each cap and chopped into cubes. Simple and easy.
There are various ways to cook/ eat shaggys, including frying them up right away, however I prefer to store for the winter, so I have cubed them, and then I am just going to throw them into my dehydrator to dry them out.
Once my mushrooms are dehydrated, I am going to store them in glass mason jars, and then add them to my favorite recipes and especially soups that use mushrooms. I do hope to not be able to buy any store bought mushrooms this winter and only use my wild harvested mushrooms. So much more healthy for you for sure.
Some websites will claim to wash and dry your haul of mushrooms, but with these ones I would not recommend that. I read about another fella that did this and ended up with a soggy slimy mess. Just leave them out to vacate the bugs, and that should be good enough. If your really super worried about dirt, well, sorry to say but wild food is often a bit dirty! deal with it !!
Well there you have it, I do hope that this post has helped you to be able to identify and harvest some delicious shaggys parasols, without mistaking it for the false parasol and ending up in the bathroom pooping out your insides for 24 hours. If you liked my post, please follow my pages on facebook for updates on the next posts, and if you like my content, then don't forget to subscribe to my website! I am just a regular person, doing what I love, which is sharing my knowledge about wild edibles with the world around me! Thank you!
The information that i have provided is intended for EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. I highly recommend that anybody who intends to hunt , harvest or forage for mushrooms and polypores seek a credible and reliable professional. None of the above information , or any information on our website is intended to treat, diagnose or cure in any way shape or form any disease or illness. We do not endorse the practice of self diagnosing or self treatment of any illness, therefore we highly recommend that you seek the professional advise of your trusted healthcare doctor before taking any herbs and supplements. All of our bodies are different, we all have different metabolisms and some people may react very differently then others when using any kind of natural remedy. Also be aware of any allergies that you may have before consuming plants and botanicals. As mentioned before, the information provided on this website is for education only. Please take control of your own lives and do your own thorough research!