Amanita muscaria, edibile if parboiled
Amanita muscraria being par boiled to remove toxins prior to pickling in Ueda, Japan, October 2019. Salted par boiled Amanita muscaria is the most common traditional way the mushrooms were eaten in Ueda, although over the last thirty years consumption of muscaria has become uncommon. Amanita muscaria is psychoactive unless it is par boiled prior to eating. Ibotemic acid and muscimol are he psychoactive compounds in the mushroom, The amounts of these compounds are highly variable. Two mushrooms growing right next to each other can have very different amounts. The variability of the mushrooms is not an issue when preparing the mushroom for the dinner table as long as you follow the instructions. Most mushroom field guides, and most websites, will tell you that this mushroom is poisonous. However, since the publication of my article, written with co-Author David Arora, Amanita muscaria: A case study of cultural bias in mushroom field guides’ determination of edibility,” Economic Botany, New York Botanical Garden, New York, 62(3) pp. 223-243 2008 attitudes have begun to change. The spectacular Amanitas of North America, by Britt Bunyard and Jay Justice are an example of a recent field guide that explains that the toxins are water soluble. Amanita muscaria parboiling advice by Britt Bunyard and Jay Justice in their book, Amanitas of North America. You will find references to African American consumption of this mushroom as a mushroom sauce, and other documented historic culinary uses, in my Economic Botany piece. Bunyad and Justice suggest a single 15 minute boil. And in Japan, what we saw was one long detoxifying boil. A more fail safe system is to boil the mushroom twice! Bring to rolling boil with the mushrooms in the water, and it can be lightly slated, and boil for 7 minutes. Remove from the heat, throw the water again, and bring to a boil a second time, and then, again, boil for 7 minutes. This is a more secure way to insure that you have detoxified the mushroom. I want to emphasize the concept of PLENTIFUL water! Don’t skimp! Big stock pot, lots of water, not that many mushrooms, and you are good to go. the Bunyard and Justice advice to break up a large batch of mushrooms into two or more boiling sessions is a good one. You do not want people being served dinner to end up being inebriated! If you live at a high elevation then increase boiling time in the same way you adjust baking recipes for your altitude.
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I love the Amanita, so I have to say that I liked the article. I’ve done a lot of reersach into this great mushroom so I’d like to raise a point or two about it. First, I was under the impression that Muscimol was the active ingredient and the Ibotenic Acid in it was a bad part that needs to be removed or avoided. Its alleged that ibotenic acid when combined with carbon dioxide from any carbonated drink can cause brain damage and its never recommended to eat it fresh. Allegedly, the amanita can have hugely beneficial healing qualities (anti fungal, anti virial, anti bacterial) when its eaten after being dried thoroughly. A popular way to do this in the past was by putting mushroms over the fireplace in socks of the same color of the mushroom. The ibontenic acid goes away with the water when dried, leaving a god send of healing power behind.