Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Easy-to-understand foraging for mushrooms book is the perfect intro for RVers

Some of my fondest childhood memories involve foraging for mushrooms in the woods of western Massachusetts with my Polish immigrant grandmother.

As mushroom foraging is an important part of many Slavic cultures (discussed briefly in this book), she knew what she was doing. My memories, on the other hand, are just hazy enough that I have never trusted my knowledge of mushrooms as an adult. But I sure have wanted to whenever I have seen mushrooms on hikes that look just like the ones we used to pick.

A surprising thing I learned in this terrific new guide, however, is that things have changed in the decades since I last foraged for mushrooms. Most states now require a permit, even on private lands, to harvest mushrooms. Some restrict where you can forage, as well. So it’s a good idea to check the rules where you plan to travel should you decide to take up this hobby.

Don’t Trip! A Beginner-Friendly Guide to Foraging for Mushrooms the Safe Way is a great beginner’s guide to safe mushroom hunting. Some mushroom guides I have looked at can seem overwhelming. This one isn’t.

With more than 14,000 mushroom species and new varieties being discovered all the time, this book makes absolutely no attempt to be comprehensive. And that’s a good thing. Foragers will never encounter most of those mushrooms anyway.

Instead, the book focuses on foraging for mushrooms that are:

  • Relatively common
  • Easy to find and harvest without disrupting the environment
  • Palatable
  • Nutritious

Just as important as which mushrooms are safe to pick, the guide also takes a close look at which mushrooms to avoid—both those that are poisonous and those that are edible but so closely resemble poisonous varieties that it’s best to keep hunting until you find ones you can be absolutely sure of.

As author Anthony Barrett says, “The skillset does require some dedication, patience, and attention to detail, but it’s not rocket science.”

You will also learn about the healing powers of medicinal mushrooms and the mysterious properties of the ones that can induce hallucinations and other psychological effects. And don’t skip the history chapter, as you will be amazed at what mushrooms can do and how they have been used for millennia.

In addition, mushrooms, particularly the varieties that grow in the wild, are an unsung superfood. They’re high in both fiber and protein, and they’re low in carbs.

What I especially liked about this book:

  • I loved the practicality of focusing on common easy-to-find and identify mushrooms instead of overwhelming a beginner with too much information. For instance, Chapter 6, for absolute beginners, describes the top six most foolproof mushrooms that you will ever come across, followed by the top five most delicious mushrooms you can forage.
  • Each mushroom in the field guide comes with extensive information about it including how to identify it, where it is found, what seasons it can be found, look-alike varieties so you can double check you have what you think you do, and, if applicable, how to prepare it for eating.
  • Each entry comes with a photo. I highly recommend getting the Kindle version of this book as the photos are in color. The print version only has black and white photos.
  • The look-alike field in the guide entries will help beginner foragers confirm and verify their finds.
  • By the time you’ve finished reading this book, you will be well-versed in forest foraging etiquette, and you will understand the laws surrounding mushroom foraging.
  • Before you get to the actual field guide, the excellent introductory chapters set you up for success. For instance, in order to tell the edible mushrooms in your local forest apart from poisonous look-alikes, you’ll need to learn something about mushroom anatomy. The book covers this and other important topics in a concise and easy-to-understand manner.
  • The author stresses environmentalism and stewardship of the land. In other words, he teaches you to forage in a responsible way.
  • The introduction to the Ferocious Fungi chapter busts through some common mushroom myths a lot of people hold. And when it comes to mushrooms, what you don’t know can hurt you.
  • Chapter 9 covers magic mushrooms, including legality, history, identifying, and foraging. While the author says he has never used psilocybin mushrooms himself, I appreciate his nonjudgmental attitude and the excellent information presented about the topic. It just may help keep more people safe, especially because several varieties of deadly mushrooms can look a lot like psilocybin mushrooms.
  • The author is a good writer in general, making the introductory and history chapters especially compelling and fascinating. I predict you will be saying to yourself over and over again, “Wow, I never knew that!”

What can be improved upon?

As I said above, the print version of this book only has black and white photos. Therefore, I recommend the Kindle version.

Color is one of many clues to identifying mushrooms, so I think the color photos are important. It was likely cost-prohibitive to produce a print book with color photos, so I do understand why this is. However, get the digital version and this issue goes away.

Order Don’t Trip! A Beginner-Friendly Guide to Foraging for Mushrooms the Safe Way from Amazon.

Like book reviews? Sign up for Cheri’s bi-weekly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. In addition to many great gadget reviews, you’ll find “The Book Nook,” a section where Cheri reviews her current favorite RV-related books. 


Cheri Sicard
Cheri Sicardhttps://cannademy.com/
Cheri Sicard is the author 8 published books on topics as diverse as US Citizenship to Cannabis Cooking. Cheri grew up in a circus family and has been RVing on and off her entire life.


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15 days ago

I don’t have this book but I have several others and websites that I check for info.

No source is 100% complete so it’s better to have more than one source. The pictures, descriptions, and warnings will be somewhat different and give you a better perspective.

Personally, I avoid mushrooms that have problematic look alikes and I look at a lot of color pictures before trying something that I’m not familiar with.

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