Mushroom picking with children – mum in the countryside

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Mom in the country

Collect mushrooms with children

Toxic beauty: the toadstool

In late summer and autumn, collecting mushrooms is a lot of fun. It often happens to me that sometimes I do not know exactly which mushrooms are harmless edible mushrooms or harmless looking but highly poisonous contemporaries. Many communities therefore offer free mushroom advice. A mushroom expert goes with it in the forest with big and small or examines already picked mushrooms and gives information about type and consumption suitability. For the children, the excursions with a mushroom expert are very exciting, they learn a lot about the flora and fauna of the forest and learn why there are poisonous mushrooms at all.

Why are some mushrooms poisonous??

Highly toxic: the green tuber-leaf mushroom

The poison of the mushrooms protects them from predators. Many insects or rodents instinctively know which fungi are incompatible and automatically turn to non-toxic mushrooms to consume them. An effective strategy of toadstools to survive in the forest. But not all animals die if they eat a poisonous mushroom. Again, adaptation is a survival strategy. Animals often metabolize the poison of fungi quite differently than we humans do and respond differently to chemical-toxic substances. As a classic toadstool most children know the toadstool. Distinctive is his slender figure with the white slats and the red hat, which is dotted with white dots. A likelihood of confusion hardly exists here – unlike some other fungus that comes harmless therefore and whose consumption is almost always deadly. Common example is the green tuber-leaf mushroom. Almost every human consumption leads to death, whereby the fungus does not smell poisonous or taste bitter. Due to its classic appearance it is often confused with edible mushrooms like the Täubling or the meadow mushroom. In fungal science, we learn that the mushroom mushroom has white, but the mushroom brownish slats – a fairly safe criterion to distinguish the mushrooms from each other.

Many edible mushrooms are difficult to recognize

The non-poisonous stick sponge

We learn that some mushrooms are actually non-toxic, but can have a poisonous effect in combination with alcohol (for example, wrinkle-tinting). Also, this mushroom should only be consumed young. Some mushrooms are also poisonous, such as the Karbol mushroom. But many mushrooms are just delicious and tasty edible mushrooms. Classics are Stockschwämmchen, the Maronenröhrling, the mushroom or Birkenpilz, meadow mushrooms or Parasolpilze, which impress with their large hats. The topic of mycology is therefore very extensive and it is often not sufficient to go through the forest with a fungal identification book. The harvest should be shown to a fungal expert, because only a fraction of the estimated one million fungal species that are distributed worldwide is suitable for consumption.

Why are mushrooms so healthy??

A delicious edible mushroom: The Parasol mushroom

Mushrooms are not only delicious, but also very healthy. They contain little fat and are rich in amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. They also contain selenium and zinc as well as calcium, magnesium and other minerals. However, it is important to inquire about proper storage, preparation (heating!), Etc. before cooking edible mushrooms. In Chinese medicine, mushrooms enjoy a high status and are used, for example, to support the healing of inflammatory processes in the body or to detoxify or alleviate allergies.

Our conclusion: A guided mushroom excursion with a specialist who explains to the children exactly the characteristics of various native mushrooms and points out their toxic properties, is a lot of fun and absolutely meaningful to teach the children respect for these, sometimes poisonous, beauties , But even after a mushroom tour, children should only collect mushrooms together with knowledgeable adults and know that they should never try a mushroom without supervision and preferably should not pick it. We are fortunate that in our place of residence, Mr. Volker Draxler, one of the mushroom experts of Greater Stuttgart, regularly organizes mushroom consultations in the town hall from August onwards. With collected mushrooms, which can not be determined exactly by the layman, Mr. Draxler continues to help and also tells much interesting about different types of mushrooms, occurrence, preparation possibilities and more.

Therefore, this article does not replace a mushroom guide or advice from a professional!

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Christina Cherry
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