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Nature & You: Is it safe to eat wild mushrooms?

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Toadstools that appear in your lawn after spring rains are best left alone. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]
Toadstools that appear in your lawn after spring rains are best left alone. [JIM BECKEL/THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]

All wild mushrooms are edible ... once!

Please pardon my tongue-in-cheek jest.

You'd do well to heed the warnings that your momma gave to you — turning wild mushrooms into table fare is an activity that is fraught with much danger. Said yet another way: "There are old mushroom hunters, and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters."

The rainy days of the spring season are resplendent with oodles of examples of wild "toadstools." The vast majority of these cannot be used in our kitchen cookery. There are some notable exceptions, of course, but space limitations here preclude me from launching into a tutorial on that subject.

Some of the biggest and showiest "toadstools" are saddled with common names such as "Death Angel" and the like. That, in and of itself, is enough of a word to the wise about what action can be safely taken.

"Better safe than sorry."

Leastways, that's what my momma always said.

Neil Garrison was the longtime naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center.

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