Edible wild mushrooms in Indiana have high nutritional value and are a raw material for processing attractive dishes.
They can also be ingredients to help improve human health. But what types are they? Are they all safe?
Let’s find out in the following article.
Top 11 Edible Wild Mushrooms In Indiana
India has always been agriculturally rich due to its fertile soil and favorable climatic conditions. This is the ideal environment for good mushrooms to grow and develop.
These include Bolete, Morels, Hen Of The Woods, Puffballs, etc.
They are a rich source of nutrients that bring many benefits to human health. Here is a list of the most popular types of mushrooms in Indiana today:
Shrimp Of The Woods (Entoloma Abortivum)
Shrimp of the woods grows from rotting branches in the woods, and the mushroom season is the second half of autumn.
Compared to the usual shape of a mushroom, this type has a rather special form.
It does not have a long body to support the hat, which is flat and wide; it has an opaque white color, and the surface is slightly wrinkled.
Many people who saw it for the first time thought it was weird popcorn.
At first, its hat is convex and gray-brown and will roll back on its own as it matures. As a result, it looks a bit off-center and uneven.
With a mild aroma, this is an attractive ingredient for everyday dishes such as roasting, breading, and frying. Vegetarians can also use it as a substitute for true shrimp.
Meadow Mushroom (Agaricus Campestris)
Meadow Mushroom (Guiana, little bustard, or Camper) is another edible Indiana mushroom. It is a saprophytic fungus and can be eaten when young.
Its cap is 4 – 10 cm wide and will flatten out as it grows. Its surface is white and silky. The foot mushrooms are quite short; the structure is thick and cylindrical.
The stem of a mature Meadow mushroom can be 1-2 cm wide. The base is white and can be easily removed from the hat.
Agaricus Campestris is easier to find in late spring and autumn, especially after days of heavy rain. They usually grow in open areas such as open fields, grasslands, or pastures for horses and cows.
Meadow is a familiar food in many restaurants because of its wonderful meaty texture and distinctive taste.
Mushroom enthusiasts use them for salads, mushroom pasta, stews, or stir-fries at home. It also contributes to making the menu of vegetarians more attractive.
Bolete (Boletus Edulis)
Among the common mushrooms in Indiana, it is impossible not to mention Boletus Edulis. It is commonly distributed in temperate or subtropical climates in pine forests or grasslands.
It consists of 5 main parts: stem, cap, mycelium, spores, and cap.
Mushroom stalks are cylindrical, enlarged at the base, and can be up to 12 cm long and 3cm wide. The hole in the stem is white when young and then turns yellow.
The cap is spherical, flattened, chestnut yellow or honey color. When young, the caps are white and turn yellow-green as they mature. Hat diameter ranges from 8 – 15cm.
Fungal spores are yellow, cylindrical, and usually about 13-17mm long. It has a very pleasant scent.
False Morels (Morchella)
Morels are special mushrooms Indiana with a conical cap and a sponge-like surface. They are usually 8-10 cm tall. The hat is pointed, erect, and typically light cream or black.
Because there are many pits on the surface, you need to clean them carefully before processing because this can be a place for dirt and harmful bacteria to accumulate.
Its growth areas are places with many trees but forests. They often grow around aspen, ash, oak, beech trees, pine trees, and other dead hardwoods.
Like all of his friends, false morels are also poisonous. Although the shape is similar, its color is reddish brown or yellow, often hanging to the side, looks deformed, and the pits are not hollow inside.
Please pay special attention to this when choosing Morchella for meals.
Hen Of The Woods (Grifola Frondosa)
Grifola Frondosa is a large creature; it can reach a size of about 100 cm and weigh up to 45 kg. Because it usually grows under the roots of maple or oak trees, it smells fragrant.
Hen Of The Woods is harvested in the last 2 months of autumn.
This edible mushroom of Indiana also has other recognizable characteristics: gray-brown color, clustered, and curved stem like a spoon. Below the ears, there are small holes about 3mm deep.
The body is relatively hard and milky white.
Grifola Frondosa has many good uses for health, such as supporting the treatment of cancer and other diseases.
It contains many beneficial substances such as Vitamin B3, antioxidants, Vitamin C, Beta-glucans, minerals, etc. So it is very good for the skin.
Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus Ostreatus)
Oyster, a member of the Pleurotaceae family, is a popular food because of its high nutritional content.
In the wild, they often grow on dry tree trunks in areas with cool climates, stable temperatures, not too hot or cold.
It usually grows in clusters, rarely singly. The oyster has a deviated funnel shape, a spreading cap, and a slightly concave apex. Based on the color, it is divided into two types: oyster gray and oyster white.
This is a nutritious food source with protein as high as 33-43% of dry biomass, rich in vitamins, amino acids, minerals, etc.
In addition to nutritional value, it can prevent and treat diseases, such as lowering blood pressure and intestinal disorders.
Chanterelle Mushrooms (Cantharellus)
Cantharellus cibarius thrives on moist ground near conifers, oaks, or other woody plants. It looks like an inverted umbrella with its lid and foot mushrooms as a single, undivided whole.
The body is thin and often has a prominent yellow or brownish-orange tone, but don’t worry because they are very safe.
The chanterelle’s hat is 5 to 12 cm large, flat, irregular, and has wavy edges that curve inward.
Its flesh is light yellow or white, very firm, with a sour taste and a mild aroma like dried fruit. These Indiana mushrooms contain nutrients, minerals, and vitamins to deal with health-related problems.
Puffball Mushrooms (Lycoperdon Perlatum Pers)
Puffball is one of the largest mushrooms in the world and is often mistaken for a ball. If you step on the old ones, there will be an explosion like a firecracker, with brown smoke coming out.
When young, it often has a beautiful white color, so it is suitable for processing into many delicious dishes such as frying. However, it is no longer eligible for eating when it turns dark brown.
The average size of the Puffball mushrooms is about 20 cm at the growing stage. This wild mushroom species is rare and difficult to grow artificially, so it has a very high price.
After the summer rains from July to August every year, the warm and humid environment with rotting wood is ideal for them to grow very quickly.
Inky Caps (Coprinopsis Atramentaria)
The next type of mushroom in Indiana we would like to introduce is Inky Cap. When new, it is egg-shaped and will become a cone as it matures.
Its cap is bell-shaped, with a glistening golden-gray tip. The edge is curved like a temple roof.
The plate is first white, then turns light brown, finally black, and dissolves into water like black ink. Stems white is divided into two distinct regions and hollow in the middle.
They often grow in groups of individuals close together on humus-rich soil or rotting straw on the ground around the house, and thrive in April-June. Inky Cap has a weak or no taste.
Orange Peel Fungus (Aleuria aurantia)
Orange Peel Fungus is a species in the family Pezizales. It has a vibrant orange color and looks quite similar to Caloscypha or Otidea, but it is harmless. However, the taste of it is not very impressive.
Old Man Of The Woods
The last name for the list of common mushrooms in Indiana is Old Man of the Woods. It grows where there are hardwood trees such as oak.
The fuzzy hat is black, gray, and white with a 5 – 13 cm width. The meat is black when processed.
Poisonous Mushrooms In Indiana
Poisonous mushrooms contain natural toxins or are edible species that grow in contaminated areas (such as polluted areas, near chemical plants, etc.).
Indiana is a haven for many safe and nutritious mushrooms, but some are on the dangerous list. Here are a few that you absolutely should not eat:
Amanitaceae is one of the largest mushroom genera with about 600 species, most of which are poisonous, even deadly.
Representatives of this genus are responsible for the death of 95% of people with mushroom poisoning.
Among the representatives distributed in Indiana, the poison of A. Bisporigera is so powerful that it is called the Destroying Angels.
As the name suggests, it usually looks as harmless as the edible mushroom variety but is a killer.
It usually grows in clusters or singly on the ground in forests and other places. The cap is white, the surface is smooth, the head is round and ovate, and it firmly adheres to the stem.
When mature, its hat can reach 5 – 10 cm in diameter and will droop in old age.
The fungal peduncle is white membranous in the upper part close to the cap. The peduncle bulges out like a calyx. These wild foods have a soft, gentle scent, making it easy to deceive others.
A few other dangerous names of the Amanita family include Amanita phalloides, Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria), Amanita virosa, etc.
Like Amanitaceae, Cortinarius is a family of over 2000 species and is distributed throughout the world.
Of these, some species are extremely toxic, some are toxic but not lethal, and a few are safe or inconclusive.
Among the representative mushrooms in Indiana, the most dangerous are fool’s webcap (Cortinarius Orellana) and deadly webcap (Cortinarius rubella).
They are quite similar in appearance, with a rust-brown color and a veil between the body and the hat, making distinguishing the species in the family difficult.
That’s why researchers always warn people not to use any food.
The culprit in the webcap’s danger is orellanine – a toxin that causes flu-like symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose early.
Ultimately, orellanine can lead to kidney failure and death if not treated promptly.
False Parasol (Chlorophyllum molybdites)
“False Parasol” is a unique name because it is reminiscent of an Indiana mushroom that looks like a beautiful umbrella but has many hidden secrets.
This species belongs to the fuzzy parasol group and is the most toxic member of the group.
You can easily recognize these mushrooms by the characteristic green spores.
Although its poison is not dangerous enough to take mushroom lovers’ life, the consequences are unimaginable when it is mixed with other killers like destroying angels.
Dapperlings (Lepiota sp.)
Deadly Dapperling (Lepiota Brunneoincarnata) is a fungus of the genus Lepiota, order Agaricales. It contains amatoxin, the toxin that causes many deaths from poisoning.
Without prompt treatment, the mortality rate can be as high as 50%.
It grows mainly in dense forests, where there are many weeds. It is dangerous because its appearance resembles many edible species, such as brown caps with white plates and a pink-brown body.
How To Know A Mushroom Is Edible Or Poisonous?
The first is to observe with the eyes. Most poisonous species have very bright and prominent colors to attract other insects and animals.
Its cap has many red, white, or black spots. The body may have many stripes or cracks around it. The edible ones have a simpler color, black or gray; the body is white or the same color as the cap.
The next step is to smell it. When disconnecting the poisonous type, you will see the latex oozing out and smell a pungent or bitter smell in the nose.
The edible mushroom variety is mildly flavored or odorless.
However, some poisonous types also have a mild aroma like that, so you need to combine many measures before deciding to use them.
According to experienced mushroom hunters, we have some tips to check if mushrooms are toxic:
- Take the white end of the green onion and rub it on the top of the mushroom. If the scallions turn green, it is poisonous, and vice versa.
- Insert a silver spoon or chopstick into its hat or body. A discolored object means it is poisonous.
- Put some fresh milk on the hat. Toxins will cause milk to curdle.
Mushrooms are nutritious foods for health and make dishes more delicious. Hope our list of edible wild mushrooms in Indiana will help you have more meal options.
But don’t forget to be careful with poisonous ones.