Mushroom hunting

Mushroom hunting - general rules

Boletus edulis - White mushroom

Mushroom picking is a popular outdoor activity or hobby known as quiet or mushroom hunting. Mushroom picking can also be a commercial activity - for sale on the market or delivery to procurement points.

Mushroom hunting is common all over the world, especially in the countries of Eastern and Northern Europe, the Baltic states, the Mediterranean and North America. There are countries in which rules and restrictions on mushroom picking are clearly spelled out.

The equipment of a mushroom hunter usually includes:

  • A sharp small knife. There are knives for mushroom pickers on sale.
  • Wicker basket. It is convenient if the basket is attached to the belt so that your hands remain free.
  • High rubber boots.
  • Compass.
  • Comfortable clothing for the area and the weather. Special attention is paid to shoes.

It is best to pick mushrooms in a wicker or plastic basket with many holes: they will be ventilated and not crushed. Never use plastic bags, otherwise, when you come home, you will find that you have brought a shapeless sticky mass.

To ensure safety when consumed, one should be able to distinguish edible mushrooms from poisonous ones.

Precautions when picking and using mushrooms

The most common poisoning occurs with poisonous mushrooms, which have an external resemblance to edible ones and accidentally fall into the mushroom picker basket with them. To avoid such a mistake, which can become fatal, it is necessary to study well the general characteristics of all fungi and know the characteristic differences between poisonous species.

Collect only the types of mushrooms you know. Unknown or questionable fruiting bodies should not be eaten. It should be remembered that some specimens may not have distinctive features, for example, white flakes on the cap of fly agarics can be washed off by heavy rain, the cap of a pale toadstool, cut off at the very top, does not allow you to notice the ring.

For children, many mushrooms are much more dangerous than for adults, so the use of even edible mushrooms by children should be limited.

Mushrooms, as accumulators of toxic substances (heavy metals, pesticides, radionuclides), can be dangerous.

Causes of mushroom poisoning

  • The toxicity of the fungi themselves, due to the presence of toxins (or mycotoxins). Long-term storage of harvested fresh mushrooms without cooking, or long-term storage of already processed mushrooms
  • Damage to fungi by pests, in particular, mushroom flies
  • Joint consumption of certain types of mushrooms (eg, dung beetles) with alcohol
  • The accumulation of substances harmful to the body (heavy metals, etc.) during the growth of the fungus in the fruit bodies when they grow near roads and enterprises
  • Frequent consumption of mushrooms of the Morel family
  • Abuse of mushrooms, even of the first category, is harmful to the body, since mushrooms are indigestible food and with a large volume of semi-digested mass in the digestive tract, intoxication of the body can develop.

First aid measures

In case of severe mushroom poisoning, you must call an ambulance. Before the doctor arrives, the patient is put to bed, gastric lavage is performed: they give plenty of drink (4-5 glasses of boiled water at room temperature, drink in small sips) or a light pink solution of potassium permanganate and induce vomiting by pressing a smooth object on the root of the tongue. To remove the poison from the intestines, immediately after washing the stomach, they give a laxative and do an enema.

To clarify the diagnosis, save all the mushrooms that have not been eaten.

Treatment for mushroom poisoning depends on their type. Toadstool poisoning is accompanied by vomiting and dehydration; after gastric lavage, exchange blood transfusion, hemodialysis, glucose with insulin intravenously are performed, in case of respiratory failure - atropine subcutaneously.