Cover Image: How to Forage for Mushrooms without Dying

How to Forage for Mushrooms without Dying

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Member Reviews

I've grown more and more curious about mushrooms lately, so seeing this title alone sold me on picking it up. I really appreciated the conversational tone and easy to digest information about how to get started with foraging. The information is introduced in a unique way, starting with the reality of mushrooms that can make one sick or cause death, which is the perfect way to lead with that interesting title. 

The identifying information wasn't overwhelming and gave me nice insight into how to start observing mushrooms in the forest. I liked the anecdotal information with each mushroom, giving the book more than just tactical information. 

After reading this book I'm ready to walk in the woods and pay attention to the mushrooms, to practice identifying and getting comfortable with the idea, before actually foraging and bringing them home. 

Before reading this book I felt so uneducated that I didn't even consider foraging because I was intimidated to get the ID wrong, but now I feel I can approach mushrooms like bird watching and observe before foraging.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone that is curious about mushrooms and is looking for something easier to read than a field guide to help bridge the gap between feeling intimidated about where to start and actually foraging for things to bring home.

An ARC copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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An interesting read but it has not convinced me to forage for mushrooms even though I love eating them!
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This was a great little book, and even though I don't think I'll ever go forage for mushrooms myself, it was a very interesting read and I learned a lot.
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I know zero about foraging anything including mushrooms and I'll admit I'm hesitant to try but after reading this book I feel I could successfully identify mushrooms well enough to not poison myself. I'm ordering this book for my branch library.
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A non-scientific book on mushroom identification and how to forage mushrooms safely (without dying). I found it easy to read, engaging, and informative without being overwhelming. The author makes me feel like I could also learn to forage and enjoy edible mushrooms.

** I received an electronic ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review of this book.
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[Review of uncorrected page proofs from NetGalley]
By the author of Hentopia.  This is an excellent, truly practical beginners' guide to foraging for wild mushrooms.  Hyman's writing style is friendly and entertaining.  Reading this book made me feel like I was with a pal in the woods who was teaching me what to look for--and what to avoid.  He shares his info in plain English making this a great book for folks with children looking for a family hobby.  He also gives great tips for anyone wanting to make the most of the mushrooms they've foraged or spent good money on at the grocery store (paper, not plastic!).  I love his tips for preserving mushrooms as well.  
Bonus:  no ableism here--Hyman doesn't make the reader feel like they have to have a certain fitness level to undertake this hobby.  Also, the writing style will make this book welcoming to adults daunted by other "traditional" identification guides.
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4 stars 

This was such an informative and great read! You can tell how the author really thought about the way the reader was going to use the book, by laying out the types of mushrooms by area/location, season, and whether or not the mushroom has gills. This is purposely done because, as the author states, the novices that are using this guide don’t know the names of the mushrooms yet, so laying out the book by alphabetical order wouldn’t make it as useful. 

I would definitely buy a physical copy in order to take it out foraging, a hobby I’ve been really wanting to try. If mushroom foraging is also something you are interested in I would definitely recommend checking it out.

ARC given by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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This book was very informative and at times quite humorous. I feel like I have learned and retained just enough information about mushrooms. I am quite appalled that I enjoy the scent of Cedar Tree poop. The latter part of the book discusses edible and non-edible mushrooms. The information about the mushrooms was presented in a way that is understandable to a novice like me, which I appreciated. Overall, I now have more of an understanding on what to look for when foraging for mushrooms, how to prepare and store them, and even learned a little history on them. I would recommend this book to a beginner forager or someone who I know is a mushroom lover.
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This is a wonderfully done little book, full of colorful illustrations, amusing stories (where appropriate), and actual useful ways to identify mushrooms you may come across while walking. I really liked how each chapter was very descriptive with ACTUAL useful ways of identifying fungi (color, is it growing on decaying wood or in the dirt?) and not stuff like “it smells like that first morning rain on that one beach in Europe after that guy down the street cuts his grass on the first Tuesday.” No misinterpretation, just the facts. And then it follows up with a nice “what looks like this but will kill you if you eat it” under each individual plant. Very useful for the forager in your life.

I received an ARC, but my opinions are all mine (and my husbands on this one.)
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An interesting and entertaining guide to identifying edible mushrooms, written with humor and everyday language for the novice forager.  The explanation for identifying poisonous mushrooms was one of the best I’ve seen.  Highly recommended!

Note: A free electronic galley of this book was provided to me  in exchange for my honest opinion.
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How to Forage for Mushrooms without Dying is a well written and clear field guide to foraging 29 edible mushrooms written by Frank Hyman. Due out 12th Oct 2021 from Storey, it's 256 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats. 

This is a layman accessible guide to foraging mushrooms and includes what to look for and (just as importantly) what to avoid. Additionally, it presents the information in an appealingly direct way with a lot of humor and definitely doesn't take itself to seriously. 

The book's introduction covers what mushrooms are botanically, the different types of fungi to be found and how they interact with their environment as well as what types of trees they grow with/on, identifying structures, and how and where to find them (without dying). There is a definite emphasis on safety in identifying, handling, storing, using, and eating the foraged fungi. It actually contains one of the better food safety discussions I've seen.

Graphically the book is full of clear color photos which will help with ID and location. The field guide sections contain many color photos of each species including closeups and at different stages of development. The author also does a good job of explaining the *differences* between look-alike species to help with positive ID to sort out the edible ones from the harmful ones. Each entry includes the name, the binomial (Latin) name (including an English translation of the Latin), common name(s), identifying descriptions, look-alikes, and uses including some taste descriptors. 

Five stars. Witty and useful, with clear and specific directions. This would be a good selection for library acquisition, smallholders, self-sufficiency folks, gardening and foraging readers, and similar. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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A great title that captures and draws you into the nitty gritty of what this book intends to do.

Written in an easy, warm style, it covers the fundamentals of the types of mushrooms, their structure and in general what you need to be looking for in fairly lay terms, something the author considers isn’t usually done well enough in other books. As this was an advanced copy e-version, it was without colour and with non-functional page numbers/links to follow through to further referenced pages, which was a shame and therefore necessitated additional internet look ups to fully follow. Some of the writing content was repeated in a dappled way. I am not sure if this was to ensure coverage if someone just dipped in and out of the book, which is entirely sensible, but I found it a bit duplicative and unnecessary when reading cover to cover. These messages could have been set in the must read 1st chapters before actively foraging, or set in footnotes.

Not too long a book, but probably could have been a tad shorter with more distilled information. Lots of pictures/illustrations, an essential as you would expect in such a book. Information per mushroom included such as taste, storage and cooking, which was helpfully formulaic. Probably better as a printed version so it can be readily carried on jaunts in order to refer to pictures more readily. A number of mushrooms referred to were found in specific parts of US/Canada and was USA centric, but a wide general selection nonetheless. There are lots of simple safe guides on the internet to guide foraging also, which proved additionally helpful, though perhaps less portable and accessible when needing to assess and check your woodland bounty. Having said that there are also apps I noted that help with identification, albeit not sure it would be wise to be solely reliant on these and such apps were not referred to in this book. Caution is emphasised at many points, emphasis on a fungi meeting ALL key descriptors and whether there are others that look alike that might inadvertently cause you to pick in error –to which the mantra is if in doubt throw it out. Great practical advice that makes foraging feel accessible and doable to a novice; noting some other books have the opposite effect. So a decent reference book, ideal for novices predominantly on spring and autumn walks. A fun way to enjoy nature and just try and identify fungi, even if you think eating it feels a step too far.
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Who would think that there’s so much to learn about mushrooms? And how do people even get comfortable and adept at identification of those “safe” mushrooms? The book, How to Forage for Mushrooms Without Dying is just one of those books that can aid the novice forager in the safe gathering, storage and identification of at least 29 wild and delectable fungi.

How to Forage for Mushrooms Without Dying is an excellent resource for determining whether the mushroom in question has all the attributes of a safe and edible shroom. It also contains information on the basics of mushroom structure (i.e. parts,) tools of the trade, and a comprehensive list of other resources to reference.

Overall, How to Forage for Mushrooms Without Dying is an excellent tool that contains all of the information that a beginner needs to start their journey into gathering mushrooms. Five delectable stars.

I received a digital ARC from Storey Publishing through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions
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How to Forage for Mushrooms Without Dying  by Frank Hyman is concise, well-designed, and easily comprehensible. There are so many well-meaning but hastily put together mushroom guides, that I did not expect to enjoy this work as much as I did. I enjoyed the quippy title and chapter headings ("Money Doesn't Grow on Trees But Gourmet Mushrooms Do," "The Fungal Fleet at Your Feet," and "What the Heck Are Mushrooms Anyway?") as well as the high quality "on-the-field" style photographs of mushrooms lain out next to hand written notes and recipes for mushroom use. The author's tone is friendly and unpretentious, and I admire the style which forgoes "subjective" mushroom characteristic like smell to instead focus on more concrete descriptions.
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As a biology teacher, what a great book! I love that it is easy to understand and accessible to someone who knows very little about fungi and biology. This would be a great field guide to use in an ecology lab studying mushrooms. This will make a great addition to my shelf!
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This is a beginner’s book full of tips on identifying edible and non-edible mushrooms.  The author includes many markers for identification and walks the reader through safe foraging.  Also included are tips on safe handling of any mushroom; there are comparisons to handling raw hamburger to make the point.

I found the entire book to be informative and humorous, making it easy to read (I actually read it in just over a day).  There is an introduction; then a listing of mushrooms for foraging with identification features, look alikes, preservation tips, and cooking tips.  I found all of this to be of value.  At the end there is a rogues gallery of mushrooms to avoid (and why).  The references after the text are of value as well.  Notably, the author helpfully recommends books of other authors in his text.

Before reading this book I found and identified a Maitake/Hen of the Woods growing on my family farm.  With the help of friends who are avid foragers, one being a retired college biology professor, I was able to positively identify it, cook it (and share it), and preserve what we couldn’t eat (it was BIG).  I wish I had had this book at the time.  I will buy this book when it is published! 

A big thank you to Storey Publishing, LLC, author Frank Hyman, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an eGalley of this book.  I did not receive anything for my review, and my opinions are my own.
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How to Forage for Mushrooms Without Dying - An absolute beginner’s guide to identifying 29 wild, edible mushrooms, is a book with a fantastic title by Frank Hyman.
It’s a visually very appealing book, with beautiful photo and a lovely design that makes it feel accessible even if you’ve never thought about foraging before.
It starts with a basic guide to what mushrooms are, and moves on to provide tips for responsible foraging that won’t end up with you in hospital. There is a helpful section on mushrooms that grow on trees (with and without gills – don’t worry, you’ll learn what they are). 
Most of us think about mushrooms as things that grow on the ground and follow the basic rules people of don’t touch any of them, especially the ones that look like they belong in a fairy story. If that’s you, the next chapter is perfect. It covers fungi with and without gills that grow on the ground, with a special section on what species to steer clear of. The book makes clear that good judgement will help you on your journey to becoming a confident mushroom hunter, and gives you all the guidance you’ll need to get there.
Beyond foraging
Foraging is only the start of the story. You also need to know what to do with them, as we pick wild foods in order to use them somehow - normally for eating! Hyman includes a chapter on cooking and preserving your haul so you can make the most of what you’ve found.
Finally, the book covers useful tools so you can go into the woods prepared, as well as further tips for growing in confidence and experience.
There are plenty of mushroom ID books but they tend to be written for people who already have an idea of what they are doing. For example, an alphabetical list is only useful if you already know their names! This book is different because it focuses on what you can easily spot while you are walking in the woods – the identification guide doesn’t rely on aroma or spore print colour because who knows what they are when you are going about your business in the forest?
It is accessible, fun, helpful, obviously written by someone who knows his stuff, and the perfect book to accompany you in a walk, even if you have no plans to pick and eat what you find. You’ll learn something and have fun looking!
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Review courtesy of Netgalley & Publisher's providing the ARC of this book. 

I grew up with my mom singing "Kill the toadstools," to the same tune as Elmer Fudd's "Kill the Wabbit." Mushrooms in the wild were for kicking over so wayward children didn't eat them, and only grocery store mushrooms could be consumed as food. This book is a good example of why that doesn't have to be the case -- although it does relatively confirm my mom wasn't entirely wrong either. We always kicked over white capped and gilled mushrooms, which are usually "sickeners" or killers, like the death cap. 

Now that I'm an adult though, I live not too far from one of the largest mushroom festivals in the country, and near a bunch of pennsylvania mushroom farms, and by god, I want to eat more mushrooms. Frank Hyman's book, How to Forage for Mushrooms without Dying is the perfect introduction to me doing that. I have general anxiety, but want to eat tasty fungus without accidentally killing myself. This book tells me how to do that. That's brilliant. And I really do appreciate how it's aimed at the novice -- Hyman chooses a list of distinctive, almost all edible, mushrooms that someone can hunt for and cook up. He doesn't overly emphasize traits that aren't easily recognizable, and the book is cleverly organized by "where is this mushroom found," rather than "name of the mushroom you don't know anything about yet." So if you do go hunting, you can just say to yourself "okay this mushroom is growing on a tree," and look at all the mushrooms in this category. Nifty. Hyman is also incredibly level, and recommends moderation and caution in totally sensible ways - only eat what you are certain you've identified, ask for the help of more experienced foragers, and cook a tiny bit and then sample first in case you're surprisingly allergic to the mushroom, or don't digest it well. 

My only complaint - a very small one - is I wished that he'd explained spore prints a little more in depth, because it seems like some people do them, and it's useful for more advanced identification of mushrooms. Otherwise, great mushroom book.
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This is a great guide for beginning mushroom enthusiasts and intrepid explorers! After explaining the basics of mushroom anatomy, identification, and preparation in a highly understandable way, this book beautifully showcases 20 varieties of safe mushrooms that can be easily identified by the burgeoning forager!
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Absolutely fantastic guide. Very interesting and in-depth field guide. I great deal of side information and stories are included. Some was more then I wanted to know as a novice my main focus is identifying mushrooms so I didn't care about some of the stories. However, an avid mushroom collector or anyone interested in the history of collecting in general will be thrilled by these extra tidbits.

In all I highly recommend the book and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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