Parboiled, it's a major edible mushroom, uncooked, they are often an inebriant. There are many published accounts of fly agaric because of the mushroom of shamans and many posted accounts of the mushroom used as a recreational inebriant. There aren't many published accounts of fly agaric as an edible fungus. It must be less as a significant consumable. And yet, properly parboiled, that's what it's, a delicious sweet tasting mushroom—one among the simplest.
I've found an extended tradition of use as an esculent alongside its use as an inebriant. It's a delicious mushroom, and straightforward to spot. The way I prepare it's to chop the mushroom into thin slices and boil it in plentiful salted water for about quarter-hour. I then drain it then use the parboiled mushrooms within the usual ways — dressed with oil and vinegar for a salad, sauteed in vegetable oil, added to gravy to pour over steak. Ibotenic acid, the active compound during Muscaria, is water-soluble, so boiling removes it. The sole real warning I'd offer you is to be sure there's plentiful water that you don't skimp on the boiling time.
The following article on the cultural history of the edibility of fly agaric was published within the refereed journal, Economic Botany. I wrote it with mushroom guidebook author David Arora (Mushrooms Demystified and every one the Rain Promises and More). As we mean within the article, fly agaric is that the only terrestrial organism with the pattern of red with white dots. My daughter, Stella, pictured above, was quickly ready to identify it like a four-year-old during this photograph, at age five she and her doll pose with a young amanita muscaria within the mountains above New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Mushroom field guides routinely label these mushrooms "poisonous," and a few even claims it's deadly. Amanita muscaria is "poisonous" within the sense it can cause you to be sick or alter the way you perceive the planet if not detoxified through boiling. Boiling removes the ibotenic acid, the activities within the mushroom, rendering it harmless. I took an interest within the disparity between the facts of the mushroom's edibility and, therefore, the descriptions of it as a toxic mushroom in mushroom field guides when as a matter of curiosity, I started trying to track down proof that the fungus had ever caused a fatality. While this is often another story — I'm pretty sure that the solution is it hasn't.
The mushroom first entered modern European literature within the reports of explorers within the early decades of the 1700s. They explained that the people of the Baltic coast use it as an inebriant. This came as an excellent surprise as these Europeans knew about alcohol, brandy, and hashish but had never heard about people using mushrooms. And yet, that's what they found. The precise observations of fly agaric getting used as an inebriant and from transparent reporting that placed Amanita muscaria on an equal conceptual footing with other known inebriants we finally arrived, after some extraordinary meandering that included scientific experiments within the early 19th century proving it had been edible, to where we are today with most mushroom field guides, no matter culture, listing the fungus as poisonous, and deadly.
Completely weirdly, even Japanese field guides and internet sites list the mushroom as poisonous, albeit fly agaric is collected commercially in Nagano Prefecture. It's pickled.
Given where we are today, with Amanita muscaria: A case study of cultural bias in mushroom field guides' determination of edibility so often identified as dangerously poisonous, it is impressive what proportion work went into testing the mushroom during a laboratory setting within the 19th century and the way widely accepted was the conclusion it had been edible if parboiled. The French 19th-century experimenters took the approach that many foods are widely eaten, like cassava, injurious if not processed. They asked themselves if they could find out how to prepare Amanita muscaria to form it edible? The solution was yes, and as I describe within the Economic Botany article, this yes was widely accepted until the first 20th century when suddenly, for no apparent reason, it had been rejected with prejudice except for no scientific basis.
This means to me, and this is often a serious focus of the Economic Botany article, the edibility ratings in mushroom field guides aren't properly speaking scientifically. There are more ethnobotanical classifications and do vary between cultures, bearing in mind that mushrooms are deadly poisonous and may kill you.
While Anglo-American mushroom culture never boils mushrooms, there's a deep and widespread tradition of cooking mushrooms to improve texture and eliminate toxins. For instance, boiling to get free of toxins may be a common practice in Finland where yellow staining Lactarius are eaten after multiple boilings in plentiful water. Russula emetic, a mushroom whose name suggests what happens to you if you eat it, is a prized edible in large parts of Baltic where it's picked and pickled. The processing into pickles neutralizes the toxins that might otherwise make it a mediocre food to settle on when sitting right down to a bottle of vodka — the usual pairing.
The fly agaric is one among the foremost beautiful mushrooms that there's. It's a pleasure to seek out, easy to spot, and tasty to eat when properly prepared. The essential rule of mushroom collecting always is, "In case of doubt, throw it out." And another basic rule that so far isn't a part of the rhyme is that one should never eat a mushroom one isn't comfortable eating. If you opt to eat Amanita muscaria, then start with 1 / 4 of a cap thoroughly boiled therein plentiful lightly salted water. Because the standard dose of uncooked caps for adult men eating them to urge inebriated is one to 2 caps, 1/4 cap well-boiled cannot harm. Build up your confidence in small portions. Don't eat an enormous plateful the first time, then become panicked that you made an error, then start to feel your stomach is cramping up. Start slow and build a way of confidence.