Honey and Jelly

Honey and Jelly are being found in the Shasta Cascade.

You might consider that statement to be odd for a site that specializes in fall color, but the honey and jelly being described here are fungi. Late rain has caused the late appearances of honey and jelly fungi, and Redding color spotter Gabriel Leete found them at Anderson River Park on a Sunday mushroom hunt.

As December rains arrive, more fungi will appear. Gabriel estimates that “Blewits, Coprinopsis and other ink caps, late fall oyster, Bolbitius, and more will be popping very soon.”

Honey and jelly mushrooms are edible, though because many types of mushrooms look alike, CaliforniaFallColor.com cautions not to eat foraged mushrooms unless a mushroom expert certifies they are absolutely safe to eat, as several types of poisonous mushrooms exist in California.

Clinical toxicologist, Rose Ann Gould Soloway, RN, BSN, MSEd, DABAT emerita advises, “If you think that someone has eaten a wild mushroom, call Poison Control right away at 1-800-222-1222. Poison specialists will tell you exactly what to do.”

In 2018, I wrote, “Gabriel has been hunting mushrooms for nearly two decades and knows his fungi. He’s the first to say that one person’s edible chanterelle might, upon closer inspection, be a poisonous variety of Cortinarius. So, expertise and caution are required when adding wild mushrooms to your diet.

“However, he also believes mushrooms have gotten a bad rap. They’re full of B vitamins, gmushrooms.com writes, “especially niacin and riboflavin, and rank the highest among vegetables for protein content. But because they are low in fat and calories, Western nutritionists mistakenly considered them of no food value (a fresh pound has only about 125 calories). Yet in dried form, mushrooms have almost as much protein as veal and a significant amount of complex carbohydrates called polysaccharides. Shiitake mushrooms are among the most delicious & very nutritious.”

“Because they grow from decaying matter, they’re all somewhat disgusting, but also things of beauty. And, of course, they can be deadly.

“In 2012, The London Telegraph reported that 18 Italian mushroom hunters, “died in just a 10-day period. Many of them had forgone proper footwear, clothing and equipment and died after steep falls down Alpine slopes” while hunting for mushrooms. One of them was a 65-year-old woman who fell 40 feet to her death near the Swiss border.

“My sordid attempt at humor aside, while there is the hazard of hunting them on wet, slippery slopes, there is also the possibility of eating a poisonous variety. Of one thing is certain, there’s no sitting on a fence when judging a mushroom, even though mushrooms often do.”

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