Mushrooming With Confidence: A Guide to Collecting Edible and Tasty Mushrooms Reviewed By Kathy Johnson of
Kathy Johnson

Reviewer Kathy Johnson: Kathy is a book reviewer for a local newsletter and reviewed books for TCM Reviews before they went extinct. She has had various articles and children’s short stories published in magazines. She has a B.A. in English, and more than 10 years experience as a technical writer. Kathy currently lives in rural Trinity County, California and enjoys fishing and gardening as well as reading and reviewing books.

By Kathy Johnson
Published on January 27, 2013

Author: Alexander Schwab
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing paperback, also available as an ebook
ISBN: 978-1-62087-195-9

Author: Alexander Schwab
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing paperback, also available as an ebook
ISBN: 978-1-62087-195-9

This book is a delight. In this guide Alexander Schwab describes how mushrooms grow, what the various parts of a mushroom are, and how to be sure that the mushroom you select is the edible treasure you are seeking. The beautiful clear photographs, the easy to understand descriptions, and the helpful color bars and identification steps, make this book is a wonderful resource. I love this book.

The book begins with helpful advice on how to use this guide to safely identify and gather edible mushrooms.

The next section, ‘The Mushrooming with Confidence Method’ introduces the topic of what edible means. The author points out that the definition of ‘edible’ is merely non-poisonous, which could include cardboard. The author’s goal is for the reader to learn to identify and collect tasty mushrooms and leave questionable or non-prime specimens. Other topics in this section include leaving some mushrooms to encourage growth for next season/year, steps to make sure you are choosing the mushroom that is edible and not a look-alike poisonous mushroom, tools for gathering and transporting mushrooms, the issue of worms, whether to cut or pull a mushroom, and the advisability of cooking wild mushrooms rather than eating them raw.

Next, the author introduces the basics of what a mushroom is and what parts make up a mushroom. I enjoyed learning about the different mushroom parts from the excellent photos with accurate identifying tags.

The next section of the guide describes the various features that separate different mushrooms such as gills, ridges, tubes and spines and how to tell which you are looking at on a particular mushroom.

‘Positively identifying Mushrooms’ contains sections describing edible mushrooms grouped into types. Each mushroom is shown in sharply focused mouthwatering photographs, described in clear language and with unique features accurately pointed out so identification can be confidently made. I liked the inclusion of specific Information about where each type of mushroom commonly grows (for example some grow near birch, while others may grow near oak.) A positive id checklist along with a color bar is provided for each tasty edible mushroom.

The table of common trees and which mushrooms most frequently grow near each tree makes it easier to search for mushrooms in your local area and make success more likely.

The guide also includes a section on safely cleaning, preparing and storing mushrooms by drying or freezing. An index makes it easy to find a particular topic or mushroom. The list of the top 25 best to eat and most common mushrooms is colorful and useful.

Using this guide, I was able to identify mushrooms, such as hen of the woods, which grow in my area. I liked everything about this colorful and precise guide including its glossy format, the close-up photos, the easy to use layout for the tables and identification steps, the tips on cleaning and use of the various mushrooms and the confidence building details included throughout. I can see that I will have to be careful about loaning this book out because it is such a treasure that I might not get it back!

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