The Meadow mushroom, like the Almond mushroom (also of the Agaricus genus) could be confused with young specimens of the deadly poisonous "destroying angel" of the Aminita genus. The destroying angel can be distinguished by their volva or cup at the base of the mushroom and pure white gills (as opposed to pinkish or brown of Agaricus bisporus and Campestris). Thus it is important to always clear away debris and examine the base of a mushroom, as well as cutting open young specimens to check the gills. Furthermore, the destroying angel grows in mossy woods and lives symbiotically with spruce. These strikingly beautiful gilled mushrooms include some of the deadliest species in the world. Because they account for 90% of mushroom fatalities, this is an extremely important family to learn!
A spore print is the best way to be sure that what you have is not in the Aminita family! Amanitas' microscopic spores and their spore prints are white.
*Extremely Serious! Amanitins are a group of complex cyclic polypeptides which damage tissues by inhibiting RNA synthesis within each individual cell. Onset of symptoms manifests itself in four stages:
First stage is a latency period of 6 to 24 hours after ingestion, in which the toxins are actively destroying the victim's kidneys and liver, but the victim experiences no discomfort.
Second stage is a period of about 24 hours characterized by violent vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and severe abdominal cramps.
Third stage is a period of 24 hours during which the victim appears to recover (if hospitalized, the patient is sometimes released!)
Fourth stage is a relapse, during which kidney and liver failure often occurs, leading to death. Patients may also “bleed out” and die due to the destruction of clotting factors in the blood. There may be more than one relapse.
Meadow mushroom's flavor is distinctive and full; milder flavor in the young buttons, then increasing in strength as the mushroom matures. For this reason it is good to consider the dish you are cooking and determine if you desire a strong mushroom presence or a lighter touch and use mushrooms matured to suit your needs. Mature caps with strong flavor can be dried and are great for use as a seasoning when powdered in a food processor. Store the powder in an airtight jar and use it to flavor soups, sauces and stews.
You will find no better mushrooms for a hearty creamed mushroom soup! The best way to start is to saute cleaned, sliced mushrooms in butter or olive oil before proceeding on with whatever recipe you choose.
The spore color of the meadow mushroom is dark brown.
Credit For Content:
University of Florida IFAS Extension