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djg

Illness from Maitake

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Years ago I was given Hen of the woods which I consumed them with no problems.  I believe I parboiled it before frying.

Well over the last several years, I've started looking for them myself.  The first time I fried them (no parboiling), I got very ill.  I stopped parboiling them because I feared I would loose flavor and books didn't state it was required.

A lot of gastrointestinal discomfort (I won't go into details).  So I threw the rest out.

The following years, I would collect only one hen and then try a very small portion.  Each time, I would feel a little off after eating them.

I found one reference citing some people can't tolerate hens and that alcohol amplifies the effects.  Now who ever heard of eating mushrooms without drinking a beer or two?  Give me mushrooms, fried fish and a beer and I'm in heaven.

The point of all of this is: Is anyone else effected like me or is it just in my head manufactured by the one citation?

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I have a 24 yo nephew who coincidentally experienced some pretty bad abdominal cramps (no diarrhea) about 6-8 hours after eating about 2-3oz of hen (pan sauteed,very done) he dismissed it at the time and said he was already not feeling well before he eat the hen. Of course I still took it pretty serious and was very concerned.

My wife,mother and myself all eat from the same dish that was prepared with no ill effect at all. This was a very young prime beautiful hen that I showed to everyone here at the time. Did he have a some sort of delayed reaction?....kinda hard to say but I'm not in any hurry to feed him hen of the woods again.

I will say he's always had a sensitive stomach and maybe some people just can't tolerate certain types of mushrooms especially the more meaty/robust types.

At the time I could not find much out there about people getting sick from hens but I know I had read at least one account on this site from someone who said they loved them but could not tolerate them well. Could have even been one of your post djg.  If I can't drink beer with it then I don't pick it! Love my fried fish too... cheers!

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That sad, so depressing if I really can't tolerate them any more.  They are so good and I can find garbage bags full if I want to.

I do suffer from acid reflux now that I'm older.  I use to eat anything I wanted.

With me I had massive bloating within the hour but just dismissed it as something else (I was already sick).  So I'll try it one more time, maybe parboiling it again.

Yes. that probable was me.  Sorry I didn't mean to bring it up again. 

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I think it's a great subject and often wondered if anyone else had similar experiences...... nothing to be sorry about I'm actually looking forward to see what others say too.

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Interesting...I hooked 8 members of my family and maybe 5-6 friends on eating hens, none had any problems. However, it was in the soup my wife makes (mix of mostly hens, some hedgehogs, some honeys), so you may say it was parboiled.

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I'm afraid if I parboil them first, I'll loose the flavor and defeat the purpose.  When they were in a soup, could you still taste them?

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The following is not in reference specifically to Hens, but I think does pertain to the conversation.

In addition to a possible reaction to unknown compounds in the fungi, I've known people to have bad reactions to old mushrooms (possible bacteria issue).  The other thing that gets some people is the amount of fiber in the mushrooms...people go without eating much fiber, to suddenly eating a bunch in the form of the mushrooms.  Some are higher in fiber than others.  Just something additional to consider.

I personally would try them again after parboiling!

Two types of mushrooms have made me sick:  chanterelles and morels.  I over-indulged the chanterelles three days in a row, and I believe the morels were simply not cooked long enough.  My friend, the morel chef, a doctor who wrote a well known mushroom toxicology book, was sickened by the morels, too.

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36 minutes ago, djg said:

I'm afraid if I parboil them first, I'll loose the flavor and defeat the purpose.  When they were in a soup, could you still taste them?

I have used them in soup and they held up great, tasted great as well. I put them in towards the end though.

I believe with my nephew since it was about 8 hours after consumption that it very well could have just been coincidental but it's worth noting. That was in 2016. In just the last year he's been to the doc for similar gastrointestinal issues several times......he's not a reliable source of symptoms...lol. That hen was probably the best I have ever found too.

Also worth mentioning is that my wife also has very sensitive stomach and she never had a issue and she eat the same hen 4-5 different ways. Im still picking all that I see that's in good shape.

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2 minutes ago, MattVa said:

I have used them and soup and they held up great, tasted great as well. I put them in towards the end.

I believe with my nephew since it was about 8 hours after consumption ,very well could have just been coincidental but it's worth noting. That was in 2016. In just the last year he's been to the doc for similar gastrointestinal issues several times......he's not a reliable source of symptoms...lol. That hen was probably the best I have ever found too.

Also worth mentioning is that my wife also has very sensitive stomach and she never had a issue and she eat the same hen 4-5 different ways. Im still picking all that I see that's in good shape.

That's good to hear she's ok with them.  If I can tolerate them again, I would be interested in the pickling recipe, but that's for later.

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2 hours ago, The Mushroom Whisperer said:

 

The following is not in reference specifically to Hens, but I think does pertain to the conversation.

In addition to a possible reaction to unknown compounds in the fungi, I've known people to have bad reactions to old mushrooms (possible bacteria issue).  The other thing that gets some people is the amount of fiber in the mushrooms...people go without eating much fiber, to suddenly eating a bunch in the form of the mushrooms.  Some are higher in fiber than others.  Just something additional to consider.

I personally would try them again after parboiling!

Two types of mushrooms have made me sick:  chanterelles and morels.  I over-indulged the chanterelles three days in a row, and I believe the morels were simply not cooked long enough.  My friend, the morel chef, a doctor who wrote a well known mushroom toxicology book, was sickened by the morels, too.

Luckily that was a one time? episode with the morels.  If I couldn't eat morels...., I don't want to think about it.

Maybe the fiber thing with me.

I'd be interested if you'd reference the book.

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It has been talked about a few times on here (Dave most likely)about the tipping effects of certain types as well as over consumption that made some people develop a sensitivity to specific mushrooms.

Djg did you eat alot of consecutive meals of hens when you first got sick? Or perhaps a really large amount?

Whisper brings up great points with the bacteria and the fiber as well. Maybe try the parboil again as he suggested.

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One meal, Not a lot.  Maybe a small saucer amount.  Maybe bacteria.

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Friend of mine has developed  a reaction to maitake where his lips and face swell up. He had to quit eating them, he gave me his whole stash which I promptly devoured!! 

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One thing to remember about par boiling is that it may remove compounds from the mushroom that could remain in the water. If making soup, don't use the par boiling water. Make sure you throw it out and start with new water or stock.

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This topic has come up several times, with various mushrooms. For me it's certain leccinums. I think I've isolated too those associated with aspen. Fresh the afor mentioned gastric distress but when dried no issues occur. Alcohol may contribute to the problem but doesn't seem to be an issue with other fungi. Possibly just a simple body reaction from person to person, hence the "try only a small amount the first time" warning for all wild mushrooms.

 

 

 

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On 8/31/2018 at 10:27 AM, djg said:

Luckily that was a one time? episode with the morels.  If I couldn't eat morels...., I don't want to think about it.

Maybe the fiber thing with me.

I'd be interested if you'd reference the book.

Unfortunately, morels have made me sick 3 times.  Each time they were large morels cooked the same way:  stuffed.  Alcohol was only consumed at one of the meals.

Here is a good article by my friend:  http://www.fungimag.com/fall-2017-articles/V10I3 LR Adverse Reactions 14_15.pdf

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Whisperer, that was a very good read thanks for sharing. It's seems regardless of how safe of a reputation a mushroom has a certain % of people/population are still going to be allergic.

A comparable( non mushroom)example is that my wife seems to have a pretty bad gastrointestinal reaction to Bay Leaf. Took years to figure out why she was getting sick everytime she eat my mom's spaghetti that she loves so much....lol.

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3 hours ago, MattVa said:

....pretty bad gastrointestinal reaction to Bay Leaf. Took years to figure out why she was getting sick everytime she eat my mom's spaghetti that she loves so much....lol.

I bet your mom was looking at her sideways, until you guys figured that one out!!!!  :jubilee:

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They get along great so that really helped..lol. 

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I find that if I ate too many mushrooms during peak season that I would get gastric distress from any mushrooms I ate after. I limit myself now to a meal a week and have never had problems since. As mentioned above, for me it was just the fibre processing issue.

Also, when I moved from Southern Manitoba to a Northern Manitoba mining town with a large smelter I originally picked in close vicinity to our small city and was getting ill when I ate wild mushrooms. I think the emissions from the smelter were contaminating the soil with heavy metals that ended up in the mushrooms. I stopped foraging within a 20 mile radius of the smelter and have never had any problems since.

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Thanks for posting this. A guy I know offered for me to take a few Hen of the Woods from his yard because he said he gets very sick when he eats them. I thought maybe he was mis-identifying Hen of The Woods so I never went over to his place for them. I've never heard of anyone getting sick from them. Since Hens are more dense than other mushrooms, I wonder if they may have been undercooked.... speculating. This is one mushroom that I can't seem to overcook. I like them to be slightly crispy.

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They sure lose some of the flavor in the soup, but not all, and retains texture which is awesome.

I have gotten sick from eating morels, dried, rehydrated. Used the water I rehydrated them in. No ill effect when I toss that water. 

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