Are mushrooms healthy? Eat the mushroom hat to survive
I picked mushrooms with my father since I learned to walk. You could say that I took my first steps in the forest, and yet I would not dare to say that I can recognize and identify every specimen I come across. I only pick mushrooms that I am 101% sure of. Every day I treat hat-like treasures of the forest only as a flavor - who doesn't like scrambled eggs on chanterelles or breaded parasol mushroom? But what about a survival situation? Can mushrooms be a source of nutrients and to what extent will they help to survive in the forest? Read the post about the dangers and benefits of picked mushrooms.
Only every 4th mushroom in the forest is edible
It is estimated that in Poland there are about 5,500 species of large-fruited mushrooms, including 1,400 edible and 250 poisonous ones. Death angel, otherwise known as greenish, is the most deceptive of the latter - by a novice mushroom picker it can be mistaken for an edible and tasty parasol mushroom. This mistake can cost you your life. The toxins contained in the stinkhorn cause damage to the kidneys, liver and the central nervous system. Eating a few fruiting bodies can lead to death.
Among other things, because of the frequent harmfulness, mushrooms are treated neglectfully in survival manuals. Usually, they are devoted to a few sentences, the message of which is clear: "They will kill rather than save." Is it really so?
Mushrooms will help - they are a source of water, vitamins and protein
There is a misconception that mushrooms do not contain vitamins and other useful nutrients. This is, of course, nonsense. Recent studies show that mushrooms contain more vitamin B2 than vegetables! What's more, they are a source of potassium and magnesium, and most importantly for a survivor - they contain a lot of protein. Another advantage of mushrooms is that they can be found even in winter. However, you have to bear in mind that fresh fruiting bodies are mostly water, and the most nutritious in relation to the volume are dried mushrooms.
Interestingly, in a survival situation, you can easily obtain water from mushrooms. Bolete mushroom, even eaten raw, is a mushroom with an above-average content of life-giving liquid. Squeezing it like a sponge will squeeze out quite a lot of water. What species of mushrooms are worth highlighting in survival? There are so many advantages of chaga mushroom that we have devoted a separate entry to this mushroom from the bristly family.
There is always a but...
Theoretically, in a crisis situation, mushrooms could be a good substitute for meat and provide the amount of protein necessary for survival. Unfortunately they are also hard to digest. Mushrooms collected in the forest are not fully digested due to the high content of chitin. As a result, it is still unknown how much of the nutrients are actually absorbed and how many are excreted.
There are no studies that would unequivocally confirm that you can survive by eating only mushrooms. There is no doubt, however, that it is worth knowing about mushrooms. Being able to identify the most nutritious specimens, such as the boletus, will prove invaluable in the face of a lack of more valuable food sources. In Siberia, the pulp of trees, very poor in nutrients, was used as starvation food. Mushrooms valuable for health contain much more substances, and I think it's time for them to find their place among survival tips. If you eat only armillaria or edible boletus, you will certainly not live long. However, it may turn out to be enough to get out of an emergency.
Author: Kajetan Wilczyński
Editing: Tomasz Świgoń