The mushroom is an edible fungus that grows in meadows or forests in damp soils rich in humus. They can be cultivated or picked wild. They can be found in various shades of grey, brown and occasionally orange, and are identified by their stalk and umbrella-shaped cap.
In order to preserve the flavor of the mushroom, do not wash or peel when preparing it for your meal, but rather wipe it gently with a damp cloth and then dry it. The gills of certain mushrooms, such as the portobello, can be removed before consumption if too ripe. Chefs also slice off the base of the stalk, which is damaged from being sliced by the farmer.
Many types of mushrooms are poisonous, and fatalities occur every year from unknowledgable mushroom hunters partaking of their goods. Experts recommend using thorough mushroom encyclopedias and learning from someone who can serve as a field guide when mushroom hunting.