We don't intend the The Fungi of California as an identification guide for edible mushrooms. You should learn to collect fungi for the table with the help of experienced collectors and a good field guide. If you live in the Bay Area, join the Mycological Society of San Francisco. If you are outside of the Bay Area, check the list of North American Mycological Societies. The best field guide by far for the amateur mycologist is Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora. For beginners, we can also recommend David's pocket guide to mushrooms, All That the Rain Promises and More. Both books are published by Ten Speed Press in Berkeley, CA.
Mushrooms can be a very pleasant culinary experience or--if misidentified--make you sick or kill you. If you do collect fungi for the table, be sure you've correctly identified everything. If you can't positively identify your collection as an edible species, don't eat it! Remember:
"If in doubt, throw it out!"
Another recommendation: Always eat only a bite for two of any mushroom you are trying for the first time. Some mushrooms that are edible, even delectable, can cause gastrointestinal upset or allergic reactions in some individuals.
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