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Illness from Maitake


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I would never say it is always the case. God knows there are people that can't eat wheat, nuts, certain seeds etc ... But I wonder how many cases of people eating otherwise edible mushrooms might be eating old, rotten or contaminated mushrooms.

It reminds me of people that go fishing without an ice chest or a stringer. 90 degrees outside, catch a fish and throw it into a bucket where it sits for an hour or two. By the time they get it home rigor mortis has set in, the fish stink and taste awful, or worse.

Personally, if a knife doesn't cut effortlessly through a polypore I don't put it in my bag. One of my favorite mushrooms is the young white outer grown on a hemlock varnish cap. Cut just a bit too far and it is bitter, tough and nasty. Inedible when mature.

I wonder if "over-ripe" hens might be part of the issue some have?

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On 10/23/2020 at 7:17 PM, Rondayvous said:

I would never say it is always the case. God knows there are people that can't eat wheat, nuts, certain seeds etc ... But I wonder how many cases of people eating otherwise edible mushrooms might be eating old, rotten or contaminated mushrooms.

It reminds me of people that go fishing without an ice chest or a stringer. 90 degrees outside, catch a fish and throw it into a bucket where it sits for an hour or two. By the time they get it home rigor mortis has set in, the fish stink and taste awful, or worse.

Personally, if a knife doesn't cut effortlessly through a polypore I don't put it in my bag. One of my favorite mushrooms is the young white outer grown on a hemlock varnish cap. Cut just a bit too far and it is bitter, tough and nasty. Inedible when mature.

I wonder if "over-ripe" hens might be part of the issue some have?

I agree. I have been out on numerous forays and have seen people put past prime mushrooms in their baskets that I would never consider consuming. Even some of the harvest pictures I see online make me cringe. I understand people want their pay off after a day of foraging but some mushrooms are best left in the bush. Also, I have real life experience picking in areas of contamination and that can make you sick quick as well. (I learned the hard way) Near mines, large factories, roadways, paper mills etc. should be avoided.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/31/2018 at 11:17 AM, 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.

I think this is dead on. I've read that the most common way folks get sick from mushrooms is from bacteria growing on spoiled mushrooms

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On 11/12/2020 at 4:41 PM, Jeff Falcone said:

I think this is dead on. I've read that the most common way folks get sick from mushrooms is from bacteria growing on spoiled mushrooms

I belive so myself but there is one mushroom I know of that I had a really bad digestive reaction to, lions mane. Every time I consume it for neurological benefit even in small amounts in a capsule I'm bloated for a while, push my luck and I'm not eating too much for a while. I wold only pick a wild mushroom to eat is it looks already clean as a mushroom can be. If there's is any other growths or infection looking things visible on it then I'm leaving it be.

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1 hour ago, clamp connection said:

Why do several profiles on this thread and elsewhere say "0 posts" when they clearly have posted?

I have no idea it says I have one but I have more than that.

Anyhow I did get some maitake from the grocery store today and cooked some up in a pan, I handle this stuff well. No major bloating or cramps and gonna throw some oyster mushrooms I got for dinner in the pan later too. I was a little worried at first knowing how badly I handled lions mane and that others might be like that.

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I have consumed Grifola frondosa for years, without incident. However, I have a few possibly relevant comments.

I once gave a large Maitake/Hen-of the-Woods/Sheep's-Head/Ram's-Head to a cousin of mine who maintains a vegan diet. After several consecutive days of consuming this as a main dinner ingredient he developed indigestion, at which point he threw the remainder of the mushroom into the compost. As mentioned in one comment above, toleration for processing fiber is not the same for all people. Even someone who can tolerate digesting high-fiber foods in substantial quantity is likely to experience an unpleasant reaction when "tipping point" is surpassed. Grifola flesh is at least somewhat fibrous, more-so when it's post-mature and starts to dry out. 

About 10 years back there was a severe drought here in NE PA that persisted through much of summer into fall. Very few mushrooms. But, I did find one decent-sized Grifola in seemingly good condition growing near a large dead oak. This particular specimen had an unpleasant odor and an even more unpleasant taste. I tossed the whole thing into the compost. A local friend of mine had the same experience with Grifola that fall. Now, the ones mentioned in this discussion have been described as tasting okay. But, my experience with the foul Hen was food for thought. I think that the lack of rainfall had caused the fungus to tap into the reserve moisture available within the inner layers of wood in the dead tree. Perhaps this moisture was fouled by years of soaking rotting wood? If so, then this suggests that Grifola fruit bodies --like many other types of fungi-- are apt to uptake substances present in the environment. So, I wonder if one or more of the adverse reports seen in this discussion were the result of the mushroom being collected where a contaminant --chemical fertilizer, herbicide, other chemical-- was present? 

Also, among all the incidents reported here, I see not a single photograph of the culprit. Grifola is easily confused with Meripilus sumstinei (Black Staining Polypore). Although not considered to be toxic, Meripilus fruit bodies --especially when past maturity-- likely challenge one's digestion. Also, perhaps due to the similarity in the common names --Hen vs. Chicken-- over the years I have observed a few accounts where people confused Laetiporus (Chicken) with Grifola (Hen). Although generally considered to be edible, Laetiporus is known to cause some folks to experience an adverse reaction; some species more than others. Bondarzewia berkeleyi does not really look much like Grifola. But a person unfamiliar with identifying fungi could easily mis-ID Berkeley's as Grifola. B. berkeleyi --which often has a pleasant odor-- is well known to cause very unpleasant reactions for some people. 

Grifola attracts lots of insects. It is not unusual to find an otherwise nice-looking specimen that exhibits little raised black dots embedded into the flesh. These are tiny piles of insect/isopod feces. When I find a Hen that's got the back dots, I either trim away the affected parts or leave the entire mushroom in the woods. 

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