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InvisibleJoshua
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Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom
    #2415209 - 03/10/04 03:20 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Found in the Southern Willamette Valley of Oregon.

This species is not considered edible and is often poisonous. The members of the Gyromitra genus are also called Brain Mushrooms for apparent reasons. These are wonderfully funky mushrooms to look at.



Joshua


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InvisiblePapaverS
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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: Joshua]
    #2415249 - 03/10/04 03:34 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Wow! That thing is wild looking!


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Invisiblespores
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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: Joshua]
    #2415340 - 03/10/04 03:50 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

excellent man!!

morels gotta be right around the corner now :laugh:

DH


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OfflinePsilygirl
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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: Joshua]
    #2415397 - 03/10/04 04:00 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

that is crazy! thanks for sharing...


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InvisibleSpeeker

Registered: 02/11/04
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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: Joshua]
    #2415493 - 03/10/04 04:19 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Greetings from Finland!

from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site

Quote:

In Scandinavia, this mushroom is sold commercially and regularly consumed. When I lived in Finland for a year, I discovered that many Finns actually cultivate the "korvasieni" by innoculating shredded newspaper with Gyromitra esculenta in the fall and burying it a few centimeters underground, in the woods. In the following spring, these mushroomers then return to the site, where mushrooms are growing!

North American readers should not interpret this to mean that our mushroom is edible, however. Chemical differences between European and North American mushrooms of the same "species" are commonplace in mycology, and the scientists have thoroughly and unquestionably demonstrated the presence of toxins in North American mushrooms.





Another good link:
http://botit.botany.wisc.edu/toms_fungi/may2002.html

This mushroom is actually considered a delicacy in Finland!


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InvisibleJoshua
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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: Speeker]
    #2415653 - 03/10/04 04:46 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Your greeting is well received and likewise, greetings from Oregon!

Thanks for the info. I only used one reference, Mushrooms Demystified p. 802.

Upon closer reading I report that many Gyromitras contain monomethylhydrazine, a compound that is toxic and volatile. Drying and cooking rid the toxin. There is a note of safety, to be sure to ventilate the area where any cooking or drying of this genus takes place.

I imagine the fruits are prepared properly to avoid any toxic effects.

Joshua


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Invisiblethescientist
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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: Joshua]
    #2416112 - 03/10/04 06:49 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

please avoid this mushroom. it can be deadly.


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OfflineToxicManM
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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: Joshua]
    #2417801 - 03/11/04 03:52 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

There are ways to prepare them them that reduce the risks, but no way removes all of the dangerous toxins. It's worth noting that a couple people die each year in Europe from eating False Morels. There have been far fewer deaths in North America, probably because of the general fear most people here have about eating wild mushrooms.

Methylhydrazine takes several days to be removed from your body, so even exposures to small amounts multiple times can result in serious poisoning. It also has the odd feature that it shows no symptoms until you are very close to a lethal dose. That results in people being lulled into a false sense of safety.

It's also good to know that False Morels also contain some pretty carcinogenic compounds.

Dr Nancy Weber, the authority on these mushrooms in North America, recommends that they should never be eaten. She also states that the True Morels are safe to eat, if well cooked.


Nice specimen and photo.

Happy mushrooming!


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InvisibleSpeeker

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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: thescientist]
    #2417850 - 03/11/04 04:05 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

please avoid this mushroom. it can be deadly.




It probably IS deadly - unless properly prepared!

"official instructions" in Finland:

one part of mushrooms and three parts of water,
parboiled twice (at least 5 minutes)
in well ventilated area and the water is thrown away.
Mushrooms are rinsed well after (and between) boilings!
Dried ones are soaked at least 2 hours (10 grams of
mushrooms in 2 deciliters of water) and then parboiled
as mentioned above.
Drying should also happen in well ventilated area !


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InvisiblePapaverS
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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: Speeker]
    #2417942 - 03/11/04 04:42 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

It sounds like Fugu in Japan. You need to be a specially licensed sushi chef to carve up the deadly puffer fish for consumption...

But, this mushroom doesn't sound as fun as fugu. It sounds like it's best for most people to avoid this one, unless they really know what they're doing. Interesting stuff, though...

PS: I didn't knwo that was known as a false morel...


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OfflineToxicManM
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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: Speeker]
    #2418005 - 03/11/04 05:07 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Please realize that there have been poisonings from eating this mushrooms and its close relatives - even after following instructions like the ones you have listed. No process removes all of the methylhydrazine.

The instructions should also include warnings that only small amounts of the prepared mushrooms should ever be eaten and that you need to avoid eating them for several days after the previous time you ate them.


Dr Alexander Smith, very probably the greatest mycologist of the last century, used to say about eating False Morels that the German expert (a professional mycologist!) on the genus Russula died from eating them - you can be sure that he "knew how to prepare them properly".


Eating False Morels is a way to risk your life for a side dish in a meal.

Happy mushrooming!


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InvisiblePapaverS
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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: ToxicMan]
    #2418066 - 03/11/04 05:30 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Question: Why exactly would anybody risk their life by intentionally eating something this toxic? Does it really taste all that good? Are there any psychoactive properties? Or is it more of a cultural thing -- like fugu in Japan -- an accepted risk taken by a slightly macho society seeking escape from the normal daily hum-drums through the enculturation of risk? Sort of like skydiving, but far more risky -- as skydiving is relatively safe...


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InvisibleSpeeker

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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: Papaver]
    #2418204 - 03/11/04 07:21 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

risking life? macho? :smile: You are really funny!
(or I've been dead for years now  :oogle:)
psychoactive properties? NO

In Finland (and Scandinavia) this mushroom is
like bread and butter, an everyday thing sold commonly
at marketplaces in the spring - early summer.

And yes, it tastes very good!

Is the taste worth risking your life?
Definitely NOT!


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OfflineToxicManM
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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: Speeker]
    #2418707 - 03/11/04 11:47 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Yep. We're being funny.

Read some Poison Center reports. There are lots of them involving people who have eaten these mushrooms for many years without symptoms and find themselves in an emergency room with monomethylhydrazine poisoning. This includes people who have carefully followed the instructions you posted above.

Quoting from the third link above:
Quote:

This fungus is collected for food, with almost all collectors knowing exactly what they have collected. The problem arises from the fact that they refuse to believe that these fungi contain a toxin which may be harmful to them or others.




Due to the many poisonings, most of Europe has banned the sale of False Morels in markets.


Please don't encourage others to engage in life risking behavior. Surely you don't imagine that all those professionals are somehow all wrong about this? Your statements above seem to place you squarely in the group mentioned in the quote.

If you want to keep eating them, good luck. I hope you never get sick from them and that you enjoy them.

Happy mushrooming!


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Invisiblethescientist
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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: Speeker]
    #2418802 - 03/11/04 12:28 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

this mushrooms contents vary with many factors much like a.muscaria.

this mushroom is very common a couple weeks before morels appear in west coast and interior bc clearcuts. prefers small depressions as microhabitat. some get extremely large, 8 or 10'' specimens not uncommon. cool to look at but not for consumption on this continent.

just avoid.


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InvisibleSpeeker

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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: ToxicMan]
    #2419218 - 03/11/04 03:12 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Okay. You are NOT funny.

Quote:


Your statements above seem to place you squarely in the group mentioned in the quote.




Yeah! Me and rest of the Scandinavians are funny that way.
And  some of the Americans   too.


But, indeed, this mushroom could be less toxic on this side
of the planet. I really don't know. :confused:


traditional Scandinavian mushrooms

LAST SUPPER?


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InvisibleSpeeker

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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: Speeker]
    #2438468 - 03/16/04 10:03 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

that "official instructions" brochure (in english)...



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OfflineSuntzu
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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: Joshua]
    #2438681 - 03/16/04 11:50 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Many folks [and myself] have been eating what we call 'brains', though there is a marked distinction between them and the one Joshua posted.  Our general rule was to never eat the ones that had an actual 'stalk'.  The brains we eat are very orange, bright white squat stem.  As far as I understand, these are Gyromitra 'gigas' and indeed people have been eating them for hundreds of years [every year] where I'm from.
I definitely believe what might be good in one region is not so in another region.  Regardless, I always dry these things down and cook the bejeebus out of them with the range fan on high :laugh:

This site has some good esculenta photos. . .every one of these would be avoided if I were looking for a meal.  Scroll down for the pic list.

http://www.mykoweb.com/CAF/species/Gyromitra_esculenta.html

Gyromitra giags [aka 'G. montana'?] is more like this.  I'd eat these, but only from my neck of the country  :smile:

http://www.evergreen.edu/mushrooms/mtsm/s12.htm

The appeal of Gyromitra gigas, at least where I'm from, is that you can have no problem filling a few grocery bags in a single outing [reliably!].  They're easy to spot, very big for a mushroom, are often out before the bug season begins, often near receeding snowbanks. 

I agree with ToxicMan, proceed at your own risk with this genus.  [I know I do!  :wink: ]


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Invisiblespores
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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: Suntzu]
    #2438832 - 03/16/04 12:38 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

hrmmm, interesting, I've seen lots and lots of the G. gigas around while out hunting for morels, but never bothered to try them after TM scared me out of wanting to a couple seasons ago :smile: .  I may work up the courage to try a little bit one day though :wink: .  I've seen quite a few others harvesting them to eat around here, but it still kinda freaks me out, heh.  They taste comparable to morels at all?  I thought they smelled pretty similar. 

DH


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Re: Gyromitra esculenta - AKA Brain Mushroom [Re: spores]
    #2439047 - 03/16/04 01:37 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

The biggest problem with these is that there isn't a good way to distinguish the dangerous mushrooms from those that aren't. According to Dr Weber (she's the authority on these mushrooms) nobody really knows which mushrooms are different species. She is working with genetic data to determine it, but it'll probably be a few years yet until they're done. She even indicated that some of these mushrooms are going to move to different genera.

Another issue is that the levels of toxins seem to vary considerably. Various studies indicate that fresh specimens with high levels of toxins can have 30 times as much as specimens with low levels.

Since none of us have an easy, reliable way to determine the levels of toxins in the prepared mushrooms, we have no way to be sure that what is to be eaten is actually safe.



If you've decided that you're going to take the risks and eat them, be very thorough in preparation. Dry them first. Then boil them at least twice, for at least 10 minutes each time, discarding the water after each boiling. Make sure you have good ventilation - an open window nearby, and a fan would be good, too (there have been poisonings from inhaling the vapor from the boiling mushrooms). Limit yourself to small quantities, and never eat them on consecutive days. Watch for poisoning symptoms, and, if they occur, seek immediate medical attention (phone numbers below).

The symptoms usually begin 6 - 12 hours after ingestion and include:
> A feeling of fullness or bloating
> Abdominal pain
> Vomiting, and sometimes diarrhea
> Severe headache

In severe poisonings symptoms can occur as soon as 2 hours, and mild cases have been delayed up to 24 hours.

In the US the number for the Poison Center is 1-800-222-1222.
If the victim has collapsed or stopped breathing, call 911.

Good luck, and happy mushrooming!


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