Mushroom of the Week: The questions and joys of honey mushrooms

Paul Strand texted Thursday that he found his first honey mushrooms of the season.

Honeys are among the best eating mushrooms. They are also mushrooms I’m leery about even running a picture of (they may be confused with the deadly galerina) without confirmation from somebody more knowledgeable.

The experienced Strand was confident in his ID and ate the mushrooms with no issues, but I doubled checked with Patrick O’Byrne and Jay Damm.

“Those might be early growth honeys, but I would need to see a lot more photographs, especially of the stems,” O’Byrne emailed. “If you look at the cluster of mushrooms, you can see some WEE animal has been taking a few bites out of it. … The fact that an animal took a bite out of it is absolutely no indication if it’s poisonous or nonpoisonous, in my experience.”

“Not sure, never picked or eaten them,” Damm emailed. “I checked with Joe McFarland [co-author of “Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States”] and he wasn’t sure either if they were honeys.”

Damm recommended the YouTube video, “Honey Mushroom & Deadly Galerina – Identification and Differences with Adam Haritan.”

Mushroom hunting is allowed at many Illinois Department of Natural Resources sites (state parks, etc.), but prohibited at area forest preserves, park districts and dedicated nature preserves.

Mushroom of the Week, the celebration of hunting for mushrooms around Chicago outdoors and their stories, runs as warranted.

To make submissions, email ([email protected]) or contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or Instagram (@BowmanOutside).

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