The best books about mushrooms

2 authors have picked their favorite books about mushrooms and why they recommend each book.

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Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants

By Steve Brill, Evelyn Dean,

Book cover of Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants

Steve’s funky sense of humor and obvious love for the wild foods he describes make this book a classic. It is especially useful for urban foragers in the Northeast. Anyone who has ever been on one of Steve’s foraging tours will recognize the playful way he delivers essential botanical information. And that playfulness makes the information memorable.


Who am I?

I started foraging when I was a toddler and my Greek great-grandmother took me to a park to gather dandelion leaves. I read foraging field guides almost incessantly (still do). Eventually, I got a certification in Ethnobotany and went professional. I love teaching and sharing my passion for wild foods through my books, workshops, and videos. One of the most rewarding moments for me is when a student realizes that something I’ve just identified as a safe and delicious edible is a plant that grows all around them. It’s a game-changer. They can’t go back to seeing any plant as “just a weed."


I wrote...

The Skillful Forager: Essential Techniques for Responsible Foraging and Making the Most of Your Wild Edibles

By Leda Meredith,

Book cover of The Skillful Forager: Essential Techniques for Responsible Foraging and Making the Most of Your Wild Edibles

What is my book about?

From harvesting skills that will allow you to gather from the same plant again and again to highlighting how to get the most out of each and every type of wild edible, trusted expert Leda Meredith explores the most effective ways to harvest, preserve, and prepare all of your foraged foods. Featuring detailed identification information for over forty wild edibles commonly found across North America, the plant profiles in this book focus on sustainable harvesting techniques that can be applied to hundreds of other plants. This indispensable reference also provides simple recipes that can help you make the most of your harvest each season.

Entangled Life

By Merlin Sheldrake,

Book cover of Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

Living in the 21st century and paying any kind of attention to the natural world means to be living in some state of dread. So this book is a bit of a salve for that—it’s very engaged with climate issues but invites you into a whole other world of life and activity that is hidden from us. I found it completely absorbing, and also humbling to remember that we are just one small part of this universe—there is so much else going on around us.


Who am I?

Twelve Percent Dread is about the curious state of anxiety that underpins living in the 21st Century, when we’re aware of so many current and looming disasters. However, it’s a bit of a misleading title, my book is actually very funny! Most of my work is built around stuffing as many jokes in as possible, and I want the reader to really chuckle and feel joy when they read it. In this book, the jokes come from the state of anxiety that the characters work themselves into. Assuming you, the reader, also experiences a certain level of dread throughout the day, here’s a list of books that will hopefully help relieve it.


I wrote...

Twelve Percent Dread

By Emily McGovern,

Book cover of Twelve Percent Dread

What is my book about?

London, the 2010s: Katie and Nas are best friends, exes, and co-dependents. They share everything, including a tiny room in a North London townhouse belonging to their landlord, Jeremy, former host of the hit 90s show Football Lads. With jobs and money in short supply, it’s a constant, dread-inducing fight to stay afloat. But their luck seems to change when Katie finds a job tutoring the daughter of Michelle Hayes, the billionaire CEO of tech giant Arkoa company whose control of their lives will only increase from here on out…

Twelve Percent Dread is a satirical comedy about modern life, packed with fast-paced jokes and absurd situations—an uproarious tale of female friendship and never putting your ****ing phone away.

The Mushroom Fan Club

By Elise Gravel,

Book cover of The Mushroom Fan Club

The Mushroom Fan Club is a quirky nonfiction book about hunting for mushrooms that will make you laugh! The mushrooms “look like aliens from outer space” and the illustrations prove it.  Facts, diagrams, and fun incidents the author has experienced with her children encourage the reader to try mushroom hunting. But even if you don’t want to hunt, mushroom by mushroom, Gravel will convince everyone that mushrooms are indeed very cool.


Who am I?

I love the outdoors, and there are so many benefits to playing, imagining, and being outside. I grew up on a fruit farm in Southern Ontario, so I spent much of my growing years playing outdoors and enjoying the natural world. When I became a professional educator, I read the research about the very concrete benefits being outside every day has on young learners. Bring on the recess! Books have a way of sparking action. When we read about how someone else enjoys the outdoors, it makes us want to do the same. Books are inspiring.


I wrote...

Salad Pie

By Wendy BooydeGraaff, Bryan Langdo (illustrator),

Book cover of Salad Pie

What is my book about?

Maggie is determined to make Salad Pie at the playground—alone. But then Herbert appears. He wants to play. Maggie resists. Herbert watches and waits. Maggie’s imagination flourishes with the attention. Then, Salad Pie tumbles down, Herbert saves the day, and an unexpected friendship begins.

Backyard Foraging

By Ellen Zachos,

Book cover of Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn't Know You Could Eat

Every forager I know (myself included) doesn’t just gather truly wild plants. We also harvest neglected fallen fruits and cultivated plants that were planted as ornamentals but are also great food. In this book Ellen focuses on the latter, introducing us to the tastiness of hostas, daylilies, and many other garden plants that most people think are just eye candy.


Who am I?

I started foraging when I was a toddler and my Greek great-grandmother took me to a park to gather dandelion leaves. I read foraging field guides almost incessantly (still do). Eventually, I got a certification in Ethnobotany and went professional. I love teaching and sharing my passion for wild foods through my books, workshops, and videos. One of the most rewarding moments for me is when a student realizes that something I’ve just identified as a safe and delicious edible is a plant that grows all around them. It’s a game-changer. They can’t go back to seeing any plant as “just a weed."


I wrote...

The Skillful Forager: Essential Techniques for Responsible Foraging and Making the Most of Your Wild Edibles

By Leda Meredith,

Book cover of The Skillful Forager: Essential Techniques for Responsible Foraging and Making the Most of Your Wild Edibles

What is my book about?

From harvesting skills that will allow you to gather from the same plant again and again to highlighting how to get the most out of each and every type of wild edible, trusted expert Leda Meredith explores the most effective ways to harvest, preserve, and prepare all of your foraged foods. Featuring detailed identification information for over forty wild edibles commonly found across North America, the plant profiles in this book focus on sustainable harvesting techniques that can be applied to hundreds of other plants. This indispensable reference also provides simple recipes that can help you make the most of your harvest each season.

The Complete Mushroom Hunter, Revised

By Gary Lincoff,

Book cover of The Complete Mushroom Hunter, Revised: Illustrated Guide to Foraging, Harvesting, and Enjoying Wild Mushrooms - Including New Sections on Growing Your Own

Written by my mentor the late, great Gary Lincoff. This book teaches how to safely identify and prepare wild edible mushrooms, but it does much more. Gary includes fascinating stories about how different cultures relate to mushrooms (from mycophobic to can’t wait to get out there and hunt for them). I’ve tried many of the recipes, and they are excellent. He also includes medicinal mushrooms, and (important!) a guide to the poisonous mushrooms you definitely want to avoid.


Who am I?

I started foraging when I was a toddler and my Greek great-grandmother took me to a park to gather dandelion leaves. I read foraging field guides almost incessantly (still do). Eventually, I got a certification in Ethnobotany and went professional. I love teaching and sharing my passion for wild foods through my books, workshops, and videos. One of the most rewarding moments for me is when a student realizes that something I’ve just identified as a safe and delicious edible is a plant that grows all around them. It’s a game-changer. They can’t go back to seeing any plant as “just a weed."


I wrote...

The Skillful Forager: Essential Techniques for Responsible Foraging and Making the Most of Your Wild Edibles

By Leda Meredith,

Book cover of The Skillful Forager: Essential Techniques for Responsible Foraging and Making the Most of Your Wild Edibles

What is my book about?

From harvesting skills that will allow you to gather from the same plant again and again to highlighting how to get the most out of each and every type of wild edible, trusted expert Leda Meredith explores the most effective ways to harvest, preserve, and prepare all of your foraged foods. Featuring detailed identification information for over forty wild edibles commonly found across North America, the plant profiles in this book focus on sustainable harvesting techniques that can be applied to hundreds of other plants. This indispensable reference also provides simple recipes that can help you make the most of your harvest each season.

All That the Rain Promises and More

By David Arora,

Book cover of All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms

For starters, what’s not to like with a poetic title and a quirky, nerdy, tux-beclad mushroom expert on the front holding a trumpet (the horn, not the mushroom) and a mushroom haul? David Aurora is the mushroom god’s mushroom god and has cheerfully guided thousands if not millions of fungiphiles on their forest quests in search of both edible and nonedible mushrooms. His larger book Mushrooms Demystified is truly the bible, but this smaller Western guide which easily fits in a back pocket is the one I’ve carried with me for years. It’s where I cut my teeth when I first ventured out as a new forager, but it’s continued to guide me as I learn new mushrooms to add to my basket. Color photos, key features, notes on where to find the mushroom, and notes on edibility are listed for each type of mushroom in the book such as:…


Who am I?

My first favorite food was a mushroom and as a budding young chef, my first dish, made at 6, was a terrible take on mushrooms on toast points made with Wonder Bread, margarine, and a sad can of mushrooms. My father pretended to eat it. For his sake, I’m glad he didn’t. Things have improved for me since then and I turned my passion for mushrooms into a lifelong love of cooking them which led to my book Shroom, a cookbook for both mushroom lovers and avowed fungiphobes. Mushrooms have distinct culinary personalities and the diversity in edible mushrooms is as vast as that between a salinic, ocean-kissed oyster and a smoky, meaty grilled ribeye. 


I wrote...

Shroom: Mind-Bendingly Good Recipes for Cultivated and Wild Mushrooms

By Becky Selengut,

Book cover of Shroom: Mind-Bendingly Good Recipes for Cultivated and Wild Mushrooms

What is my book about?

In a voice that's informed, but friendly and down-to-earth, Chef Becky Selengut's Shroom is a book for anyone looking to add mushrooms to their diet, find new ways to use mushrooms as part of a diet trending towards less meat, or diversify their repertoire with mushroom-accented recipes inspired from Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisines, among others. Recipes include Maitake Tikka Masala, King Trumpet and Tomato Sandwiches with Spicy Mayo, and Hedgehog Mushrooms and Cheddar Grits with Fried eggs and Tabasco Honey. Written in a humorous voice, Becky Selengut guides the home cook through 15 species-specific chapters on mushroom cookery with the same levity and expertise she brought to the topic of sustainable seafood in her IACP-nominated 2011 book Good Fish

The Mushroom Hunters

By Langdon Cook,

Book cover of The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America

Full disclosure, the author Langdon Cook is a friend of mine based out of Seattle where I live and we’ve foraged together, taught classes together, and made a spectacularly crappy batch of blackberry wine together but that’s not why I’m recommending his excellent book The Mushroom Hunters. Langdon takes the reader on a rollicking ride to places we didn’t at first think we wanted to go and then leaves us wanting more when he moves on. He skillfully teases apart the myths versus facts behind historical turf wars and gun violence in matsutake patches in one chapter and shadows Doug, a self-described redneck, throughout the book as he traverses the changing demographics of pickers and buyers, now firmly in the hands of many in the Southeast Asian community. The characters that frame his book, the pickers, buyers, and chefs that occupy the universe of wild and foraged foods are…


Who am I?

My first favorite food was a mushroom and as a budding young chef, my first dish, made at 6, was a terrible take on mushrooms on toast points made with Wonder Bread, margarine, and a sad can of mushrooms. My father pretended to eat it. For his sake, I’m glad he didn’t. Things have improved for me since then and I turned my passion for mushrooms into a lifelong love of cooking them which led to my book Shroom, a cookbook for both mushroom lovers and avowed fungiphobes. Mushrooms have distinct culinary personalities and the diversity in edible mushrooms is as vast as that between a salinic, ocean-kissed oyster and a smoky, meaty grilled ribeye. 


I wrote...

Shroom: Mind-Bendingly Good Recipes for Cultivated and Wild Mushrooms

By Becky Selengut,

Book cover of Shroom: Mind-Bendingly Good Recipes for Cultivated and Wild Mushrooms

What is my book about?

In a voice that's informed, but friendly and down-to-earth, Chef Becky Selengut's Shroom is a book for anyone looking to add mushrooms to their diet, find new ways to use mushrooms as part of a diet trending towards less meat, or diversify their repertoire with mushroom-accented recipes inspired from Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisines, among others. Recipes include Maitake Tikka Masala, King Trumpet and Tomato Sandwiches with Spicy Mayo, and Hedgehog Mushrooms and Cheddar Grits with Fried eggs and Tabasco Honey. Written in a humorous voice, Becky Selengut guides the home cook through 15 species-specific chapters on mushroom cookery with the same levity and expertise she brought to the topic of sustainable seafood in her IACP-nominated 2011 book Good Fish

A Cook's Initiation into the Gorgeous World of Mushrooms

By Philippe Emanuelli, Frédéric Raevens (photographer),

Book cover of A Cook's Initiation into the Gorgeous World of Mushrooms

Sometimes you just need a coffee table sort of book and though it is paperback, Frédéric Raevens photography in this book is worth the purchase alone. When I’m buying cookbooks I make sure to buy cookbooks written by chefs from other countries as it offers a lovely diversity of ingredients, techniques, and approaches. Emanuelli lives in Brussels and I found their perspective refreshing. The first fifth of the book is full-page mushroom porn in the best possible way. You could stop right there, but there’s so much more; recipes such as Glazed pork belly with truffled honey and Caramelized Belgian endive with black trumpet mushrooms, and Porcini and Chestnut soup. When I decided to write a mushroom cookbook, I was so pleased that my book stayed away from many of the others on the market by simply adding butter and cream to every recipe and calling it good. And then…


Who am I?

My first favorite food was a mushroom and as a budding young chef, my first dish, made at 6, was a terrible take on mushrooms on toast points made with Wonder Bread, margarine, and a sad can of mushrooms. My father pretended to eat it. For his sake, I’m glad he didn’t. Things have improved for me since then and I turned my passion for mushrooms into a lifelong love of cooking them which led to my book Shroom, a cookbook for both mushroom lovers and avowed fungiphobes. Mushrooms have distinct culinary personalities and the diversity in edible mushrooms is as vast as that between a salinic, ocean-kissed oyster and a smoky, meaty grilled ribeye. 


I wrote...

Shroom: Mind-Bendingly Good Recipes for Cultivated and Wild Mushrooms

By Becky Selengut,

Book cover of Shroom: Mind-Bendingly Good Recipes for Cultivated and Wild Mushrooms

What is my book about?

In a voice that's informed, but friendly and down-to-earth, Chef Becky Selengut's Shroom is a book for anyone looking to add mushrooms to their diet, find new ways to use mushrooms as part of a diet trending towards less meat, or diversify their repertoire with mushroom-accented recipes inspired from Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisines, among others. Recipes include Maitake Tikka Masala, King Trumpet and Tomato Sandwiches with Spicy Mayo, and Hedgehog Mushrooms and Cheddar Grits with Fried eggs and Tabasco Honey. Written in a humorous voice, Becky Selengut guides the home cook through 15 species-specific chapters on mushroom cookery with the same levity and expertise she brought to the topic of sustainable seafood in her IACP-nominated 2011 book Good Fish

The Fairies in Tradition and Literature

By Katharine M. Briggs,

Book cover of The Fairies in Tradition and Literature

For a serious look at English fairy lore, try The Fairies in English Tradition and Literature by K.M. Briggs. It’s only one of the author’s many books on fairies, so if you’re interested in English fairy lore, the work of Katharine. Briggs is a gold mine.


Who am I?

Mary Losure is the author of The Fairy Ring, or Elsie and Frances Fool the World. Though she doesn’t happen to believe in fairies herself, when she went to Cottingley, England, and explained that she was writing a children’s book about the girls who took the Cottingley Fairy Photographs, she met a surprisingly large number of people who did.  Plus, she’s always been interested in imaginary worlds. Her most recent book, Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d, is the story of a magic-seeking boy who grew up to become the world’s greatest alchemist. Oh, and also discovered the secrets of the universe….


I wrote...

The Fairy Ring: Or Elsie and Frances Fool the World

By Mary Losure,

Book cover of The Fairy Ring: Or Elsie and Frances Fool the World

What is my book about?

Elsie and Frances never meant to fool the world. How were they supposed to know the “fairy” photographs they’d taken would one day fall into the hands of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? (Who—unbeknownst to them—believed in fairies?) And what should they do when that famous and powerful author, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, began telling all of England that the so-called Cottingley Fairy Photographs must be real, for how could two young village girls be smart enough to fake them? Nonfiction, ages 10 and up.

The New Wildcrafted Cuisine

By Pascal Baudar,

Book cover of The New Wildcrafted Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir

Rather than focusing on survival food or a fun outdoor activity, this book zooms in on foraging as a source of unique flavors that cannot be purchased. From salts mixed with wild herbs to pine needle vinegar to homemade beers infused with the tastes of the forest, Pascal is interested in much more than “Is it edible?” He wants to know what each wild ingredient is going to do for his (and our) taste buds.


Who am I?

I started foraging when I was a toddler and my Greek great-grandmother took me to a park to gather dandelion leaves. I read foraging field guides almost incessantly (still do). Eventually, I got a certification in Ethnobotany and went professional. I love teaching and sharing my passion for wild foods through my books, workshops, and videos. One of the most rewarding moments for me is when a student realizes that something I’ve just identified as a safe and delicious edible is a plant that grows all around them. It’s a game-changer. They can’t go back to seeing any plant as “just a weed."


I wrote...

The Skillful Forager: Essential Techniques for Responsible Foraging and Making the Most of Your Wild Edibles

By Leda Meredith,

Book cover of The Skillful Forager: Essential Techniques for Responsible Foraging and Making the Most of Your Wild Edibles

What is my book about?

From harvesting skills that will allow you to gather from the same plant again and again to highlighting how to get the most out of each and every type of wild edible, trusted expert Leda Meredith explores the most effective ways to harvest, preserve, and prepare all of your foraged foods. Featuring detailed identification information for over forty wild edibles commonly found across North America, the plant profiles in this book focus on sustainable harvesting techniques that can be applied to hundreds of other plants. This indispensable reference also provides simple recipes that can help you make the most of your harvest each season.

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