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The Pocket Guide to Wild Mushrooms Review

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The Pocket Guide to Wild Mushrooms by Pella Holmberg and Hans Marklund is a great resource for any wild food forager.

While no book can take the place of an experienced guide, this pocket guide should provide you with the information you need to forage safely for mushroom varieties that are new to you.

Fall is typically prime season for many mushroom varieties, so I am looking forward to taking this book out with me more later this year. I shared it with my neighbor last week, and if the weather cooperates this fall (you need rain for mushrooms, and it's been a dry summer), we're going to go investigating in their woods to see what we can find.

How The Pocket Guide to Wild Mushrooms is Organized

The book begins with an introduction and discussion of what exactly mushrooms are and where they are likely to be found. It then continues with a thorough explanation of proper picking, cleaning and preparation.

The authors also note that mushrooms contain fiber, important minerals, antioxidants and vitamins B and D in significant amounts. Not bad for a “free” food. This book focuses on varieties that are suitable for cooking (edible varieties), but also gives mention to potentially inedible look-alikes, if any.

Given that the authors hail from northern Europe, so too are the mushroom varieties featured in the book generally found in northern forests.

Each mushroom is categorized from 1 to 4, with 1 being the easiest to identify with only edible mushrooms that look similar, to 4 being those that are edible but could be confused with poisonous lookalikes.

You can stick with the #1 mushrooms (or beginner mushrooms) when you are just starting out and nervous about your identification skills.

The Pocket Guide to Wild Mushrooms

In the interest of thoroughness, the authors also offer a detailed description of the potential symptoms of mushrooms poisoning. Stay safe, folks.

The bulk of the book is filled with two page spreads of52 edible mushrooms featuring detailed photos of the mushrooms in studio conditions, including cross sections, and photos of the mushroom in its natural habitat.

Each entry provides a description with distinguishing features, a guide to preparing and preserving, and a description and photo of look-alike mushrooms.

The Pocket Guide to Wild Mushrooms

I particularly appreciate the extremely detailed photography with horizontal and vertical cross sections of the mushrooms. As anyone who has done any amount of foraging can tell you, good photos make or break a guide book. These qualify as good photos.

The Pocket Guide to Wild Mushrooms is a useful addition to the library of any northern wild food forager, and the photos are beautiful enough that it would make a good “coffee table book” as well.

This post originally included a giveaway, which has now ended.

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136 Comments

  1. I try and learn a few new wild edibles to collect and eat every season and always wanted to learn more about which mushrooms to harvest. This is perfect for that!

  2. Purslane “pickle” Relish. Purslane grows rampant in my veggie garden. I thought it was okay to eat, brought it in looked it up washed it chopped it smallish poured leftover homemade pickle juice over it. Hid it in the fridge for like a week, then sprung it on the family! They had no idea it was a weed, but I didn’t try it until they said it was good! And it was good.

  3. I’ve eaten morels and puffballs before, but would love to be able to recognise more species, edible or not!

  4. My husband and I have always wanted to gather mushrooms but never new which ones were edible. The book would help us so much, and it seems to have great picture and description’s. Thank you so much for the opportunity to win this book, and for all of the hard work that u put into your site.

  5. Love mushrooms but really have limited experience on what kinds of mushrooms are out there. This really looks like the right guide for safe hunting and eating!!!!!!!!

  6. This would be great, as we hunt for mushrooms already, but only morels, and a couple different fall mushrooms. Thanks for such great giveaways, whoever gets this one is sure to put it to great use.

  7. This looks like a wonderful book.

    One summer I went mushrooming with Russian friends in the mountains above Salt Lake City. They were experienced gatherers and together we collected enough mushrooms to spend the rest of the evening processing, cooking, and eating a fabulous meal of a variety of mushrooms. I went home with enough pickled mushrooms to last for a month. It was a memorable experience.

  8. I have picked chantrells and shaggy manes but would really like to know more about different ones so I can forage for them

  9. My in-laws forage for wild mushrooms. They’re from Italy and very old country. Amazing finds too. Love going with them!

  10. My mom and I were just talking the other day about learning what mushrooms are okay to pick. What a great book!

  11. I have mushrooms ( a few different varieties) growing in my yard and would love to know if they’re edible. There are still others that grow in the woods across the street – this would be amazing!

  12. I have never foraged for mushrooms for fear of picking the wrong ones. I’d hate to poison my entire family. This book would be enough to actually make me try it for once!!!

  13. This would come in handy. My BFF and myself love to forage, and she has aquired many books on mushrooms, but they are all so large and bulky.

  14. Definitely and awesome thing to have. Although i do not forage for mushrooms yet I have been wanting to get into it since my husband is a mushroom lover. We definitely spend a lot of money buying them in a grocery store when they happen to be all around us.

  15. I grew up hunting for morels and now I’m trying to learn the other edibles, like the Chanterelles, black trumpets, chickens. So much to learn.

  16. I grew up hunting Morels, we would do family outings in the woods with walkies-talkies, and everyone would have their favorite spot. I think this book would be a great way to add other mushrooms to my repertoire.

  17. I was searching for a resource like this about a month ago but finally gave up. I’m trying to learn all the plants, trees and vegetation on our property. We have quite a few mushrooms that I’ve never seen. This looks like a good one! Hoping to win! πŸ™‚

  18. My husband and I love to go mushroom hunting! We already have the book Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois and Surrounding States: A Field-to-Kitchen Guide (Field-To-Kitchen Guides) by Joe McFarland and Gregory M. Mueller and this would be a great addition to our foraging library.

  19. I so want to start foraging but am so worried that I’ll pick the wrong things. I need books with really good pictures to help me discern the different plants.

  20. Love mushrooms. I bought shiitake plugs to try and grow my own, but we are in the middle of a move, so I haven’t tried it yet.

  21. We love to eat mushrooms and would love to pick our own wild mushrooms but we are not familiar with the good and the bad. Living in the country with the mountains and the woods all around us there are millions of mushrooms just waiting to be picked. This book would be very helpful.

  22. We just had some mushrooms pop up in our backyard. My mom thought they could be edible, but said to have dad check them out. Unfortunately he didn’t get over to our place in time… this would come in handy!

  23. The weather in our neck of the woods has been perfect for mushrooms. We have seen lots of new ( to us) ones this year. This book would be a welcome addition to our library.

    1. We have had tons of rain and it has brought out a TON of mushroom varieties I haven’t seen in years!

  24. I’ve never done any wildcrafting before this year. I’ve always been too afraid. I’ve been a subscriber of the Common Sense Homsteading feed for almost a year, and I’m finally finding all KINDS of things I never knew before! I’ve harvested wild mullein, burdock, nettle, jewelweed, yarrow, highbush cranberries and elderberries already thanks to this blog. Thank you so much!

  25. I live in beautiful Oregon, out of Little Fall Creek and am just getting into the mushrooms and foraging. Looking forward to next years truffles…
    Good luck all. This is always fun. πŸ™‚

  26. This looks like a perfect mushroom hunting guidebook, as I’m sitting here on my deck looking at the fungus covering the tree trunk next door!

  27. We would love to have this book. How often when we are out hiking we see mushrooms growing wild but have no knowledge of what is poisonous. We really hope to win!

  28. My father-in-law used to take my sons out and go mushroom hunting. We canned them. Since he passed, I do not see the mushrooms anymore. I miss that. I want to learn what to look for so we can pick them again. My kids know what to look for but I don’t. I want to learn! I tried to sign in through Facebook through your link but it would not let me. I will find you in Facebook and try that way in a few minutes.

  29. I have foraged wild mushrooms for nearly 30 years. What I see in the description looks to be one of the best examples of a forager’s field guide I have seen.

  30. What a wonderful book to have. We have all sorts of mushrooms growing on our farm. I have no idea which are edible and which are not. This book would be a wonderful to learn from.

  31. I would love to get a copy of this book..we live in a rural country area with lots of woods and when growing up my dad picked some bad mushrooms and was very very sick from eating them..

  32. I love mushrooms this would be a great addition to my foraging books. My husband is finally coming around to eating fungus as he puts it. LOL

  33. I’ve gone mushrooming with more experienced mushroomers for morels. FUN! Then my friends and I used to go hunting for wild asparagus and wild strawberries that grew around where we lived! I would love this book.

  34. This book is so exciting! My family and I already do a lot of natural edibles, but have always shyed away from mushrooms. This book may be what we are looking for. Thanks for sharing!

  35. Would love to win this and learn about mushrooms. Currently eating lambsquarters in my breakfast smoothies and snacking on purslane.

  36. I would like to learn which ones can be eaten around our area and this book would be awesome. We have a few around and would love to eat them if they are ok to do so.
    πŸ™‚ Thanks

  37. I am so excited we ate wild asparagus this year from our new property (well the road by it) and I recently read a book about backyard foraging and have discovered some cones of berries we’ll be harvesting to make sumac-ade as they suggest. We also found (thanks to a neighbor’s advice) a HUGE patch of wild blackberries that we’ve picked out of. I am excited to learn more and more about this way of eating! And we found sunchokes we’ll be digging this fall too πŸ™‚

  38. Love foraging when out hiking and this book would definitely be a great asset to any hiker/ foragers library.

  39. Everyone has such wonderful comments.

    My dad used to hunt mushrooms in the woods behind his town when he was a kid, but he never taught us what to look for. Just last week I was talking to some friends about mushrooming as one friend came across a paw paw tree near her home and we got on about foraging. It would be great fun to go hunting next time we get together as we’re all into these things.

    My family had mulberry trees growing in our backyard. As an adult I happened on a wild raspberry patch near our present locale, which my youngest and I hit every year until someone mowed it down. About 5 years ago our raised bed garden busted out in purslane. We experimented and found it makes a nice pesto when combined with basil. Also good in a salad with slivered red onion, cherry tomatoes and a vineagrette. 4 years ago I went onto making weed flower wines from dandelions and violets in our yard. All these positive experiences give me a desire to learn more.

  40. I’m 21 and started foraging this year…and I’ve been okay with all the leaves, berries, roots, etc that I’ve found…but I’ve been skeptical about mushrooms. I have an app to help me identify them on my phone…but in the middle of the woods I dont get reception so its really pointless. I would LOVE a book like this…gotta get one!

  41. I went mushrooming once years ago with a friend who has since moved away. I’d like to go again but am afraid of picking the wrong kind of mushrooms. My husband likes calf brains. I have seen a mushroom that looks like brains but he said the ones I saw were poisonous. This book would be a wonderful way to learn the difference between edible mushrooms and poisonous mushrooms.

  42. I have always wanted to forage for my own mushrooms, but was afraid of making mistakes. This book looks like it would come in handy. Thank for the opportunity to enter to win one.

    1. Just click the first option to enter and it should let you enter your email since you’ve already left a comment. I keep trying to do it to check and make sure it’s working, but the darn thing keeps automatically logging me in with Facebook. Leave another comment if you can’t get it to work, and I’ve have one of my kids try and log in from a different computer and enter your email.

  43. My dad and uncle have gone ‘shrooming and have tried to teach me, but I just can’t seem to remember what I’m looking for like they do. I’d be scared to death to do it on my own. Having a guidebook like this would be mighty helpful.

  44. My grandma would take me mushroom hunting and foraging for wild edibles growing up. Those are great memories.

  45. Yea! What a cool giveaway! πŸ™‚ Some of my fondest childhood memories of spending time with my dad was when he took us on adventures, foraging for all sorts of things…morels, berries, nuts, paw paws, persimmons. When I married 10 years ago, I really got back into it because my husband’s father was a real “wildman” of the woods and we made frequent trips out with him and on his property. His big thing was hunting “sang” (ginseng) and he passed away unexpectedly in his sleep 4 years ago during a weeklong ginseng foray. Today, I do most of my foraging alone (although I’m looking forward to sharing this passion with my 2 girls when they get just a little bigger) and have expanded my mushroom hunts to include oyster, puff ball and chantrelle mushrooms as well. I also like to collect and use edible and medicinal “weeds” and that is particularly my favorite segment on your blog.

  46. This book looks amazing. I love the ease of looking up a shroom and getting all the pertinent info quick with just a glance. That makes it handy. Thanks for your review and I absolutely LOVE your blog!!!

  47. I have always wanted to know how to tell safe mushrooms from harmful ones, so this looks like a fantastic book.

  48. When I was a wee lil’ girl, I used to go picking mushrooms with my dad. I don’t recall much, but that is probably due to the fact that my mom always filled all of my pockets with something to keep me occupied, mainly with crunch bars as I remember. I do remember eating the fresh picked mushrooms fried in butter…oh my mouth is watering already!

  49. I have never eaten anything from the woods before, due to my lack of knowledge in that area. I would love to know more and feel safe to explore those uncharted waters.

  50. I haven’t had any experience with purely wild edibles although on a ride through my cousin’s wooded land we saw a lot of wild grapevines and they told me about the mushrooms and asparagus patches they could find from time to time.

  51. I wildcraft a few things – but I am not confident with mushroom ID. This would be a nice addition to our prepper-library πŸ™‚

  52. Our family goes out to hunt morels every spring. We don’t really like to eat them- but the hunt is what is fun! Would love to know about other mushrooms. Thanks for the giveaway!

  53. i love collecting greens such as nettles and purslane but i have not been brave enough to forage mushrooms yet. i’d love to win this to help me get started!!

  54. Ive always wanted to learn about mushrooms I am afraid to pick them because I don’t know which ones are safe

  55. Would Love to have this book! With all the rain we have had and the acres I have to search, it would come in very handy! Thanks for the chance to win!

  56. I’m not sure I’d ever be brave enough to eat the mushrooms I find, but I would sure love to be able to identify them anyway.

  57. This would have been so handy when we were camping and hiking with the Boys Scouts near Mellen. The boys were finding fungi everywhere and full of questions regarding the fungi. Unfortunately,none of the accompanying adults were versed in mycology. It would be a most welcome addition to our field guide collection.

  58. Mushrooms are scary – I would love a picture guide to make sure I am getting the edible kind – not the poisonous kinds. We seem to have a ton of the unedible around me.

  59. I walked through the woods most of my life and saw different mushrooms. I would like to learn on what I saw and kicked over when I walked and save them for eating instead of being a soccer ball.

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