Autumn in Andalucía, a time when people traditionally gather mushrooms from the fields near their homes. All well and good if you know what you’re doing, but so far, one person has died and another seventeen have been poisoned, prompting the Health Department to issue a warning to people.
The gist of the warning is, ‘if in any doubt at all, don’t eat it’. There are so many variables involved. A slight variation in colour or size can mean the difference between edible and poisonous and just because it looks ‘almost like the one in the book’ doesn’t mean it IS the one in the book.
The Health Department also warns about reliance on traditional methods of identifying edible mushrooms as well as some of the popular myths involving these fungi, such as:
A silver spoon darkens when in contact with a toxic specimen.
Thorough cooking eliminates toxicity.
Bright colours automatically = toxic
If it has been nibbled by an animal then it poses a possible risk to health.
The Health Department also points out that the effects of poisoning can manifest themselves anytime from between a few hours after consumption to a few days later. The important thing when seeking medical attention in such cases is to try and take a sample of the offending fungi so the medical staff can correctly and more quickly identify the toxin.