I've gone to a few mycological society meetings the past few months,
but I'm definitely not an expert. You might want to call the folks in
the ferry building, They could put you in touch with the right people.
Or contact the Mycological Society, they actually have a meeting
I know they've mentioned more than once that in general you shouldn't
eat mushrooms raw. Not only is chitin not digestible, but it seems
fungi can be carcinogenic.
hope this helps,
EATING RAW MUSHROOMS CAUSES PROBLEMS Jan Lindgren
MushRumors, Oregon Myco. Soc., MarchApril 1997
Most of us think nothing of eating a few sliced, raw, "store bought"
mushrooms in salads, on hors d'oeuvre trays, or when preparing them
for the frying pan. Usually the amount eaten is so small that we don't
notice any unpleasant symptoms, but it is not a good idea to eat any
mushroom raw. I know the commercial growers will laugh and scoff at
this statement and some of you will say you can eat lots of them with
no problem, but researchers have shown that even Agaricus bisporus,
the "store bought" mushroom, contains agaritine which metabolizes into
Many hydrazines are known to be strong carcinogens and can be found in
a lot of edible mushrooms. Cooking destroys some or all of the
hydrazines, but the steam given off during cooking has been known to
make some cooks ill. Besides this fact, the structural material or
cell walls in mushrooms is made of chitin, and humans don't have the
ability to digest this derivative of cellulose. The body can do
several things to this undigested chitin. It can expel it by vomiting
or send it the other way with diarrhea. Small amounts may pass through
the gut with other food and go unnoticed, or it may stay in the gut
where bacteria will work on it causing bloating, gas, and other
discomfort. Cooking does not destroy chitin but may ease its effect.
Once in the habit of eating A. bisporus raw, people think they can eat
any mushroom without thorough cooking, and this is where they may
experience some very unpleasant symptoms. In February, a case recorded
at the Or! egon Poison Center told of a woman who ate home cultivated,
raw Pleurotus ostreatus with her lunch and experienced nausea,
vomiting, and diarrhea. While this may not be a serious health problem
it could have been avoided. A better job of educating people about
wild collected and cultivated mushrooms is necessary.
We assume that chefs at good hotels and restaurants know not to serve
raw mushrooms, but this isn't the case. You may recall that on June 8,
1991, about 70 people were made ill at a large banquet in Vancouver,
B.C., because they were served raw morels and other raw mushrooms in a
The spring verpas, morels, and brainlike mushrooms (Gyromitra) are
notorious for their toxicity in the raw state and, for some people, in
the cooked state. Please be careful and remember that drying is not a
substitute for cooking and that folding sliced mushrooms into an
omelet just before serving or pouring hot vinegar and spices over raw
mushrooms is not efficient heating or cooking. The best rule to follow
is cook all mushrooms thoroughly before eating and eat them in moderation.
A good reference for more information about mushrooms and health is
Mushrooms: Poisons and Panaceas by Denis R. Benjamin of Seattle
--- In SFLivingFoods@yahoogroups.com
, "jessie woletz"
> Hello SF Lifers,
> I am writing to see if others have info to share about raw maitake
> I just bought some from the farmers market upon the recommendation of my
> herbalist & a friend who is providing nutrition consultations. I
> are very medicinal and healing.
> However, I haven't really done my own research on them yet, and both of
> these folks were not 100% sure that it's OK to consume the mushrooms
> So, of course, I want to make sure they are OK to eat raw. If
> info to the contrary, please let me know. I would like to know if
> any risk in eating them this way, since I assume that most people >
cook them. Likewise, if you have any recipes w/ these mushrooms,
> I'd love to hear them.
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]