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Can You Eat Raw Mushrooms? The Complete Answer You Need
Mar 14, 23
Tags: Usage
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Author: Sony Sherpa

Can You Eat Raw Mushrooms? The Complete Answer You Need

  • by Sony Sherpa

    Medically reviewed by

    Sony Sherpa

    A rising star in the holistic health field, Dr. Sony Sherpa has been studying medicinal mushrooms for more than 7 years. Although she started writing on Nature’s Rise one year ago, her knowledge of medicinal mushrooms is backed by a master's degree in Holistic Medicine.

  • |
  • 10 min read

You must have wondered, "can mushrooms be eaten raw?" when you saw those lovely, fresh mushrooms in the grocery aisle. They appear to be attractive, but are raw mushrooms poisonous? Or possess bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal problems? Or are they just too good to pass?

You might assume that eating mushrooms raw is alright because many restaurants feature salads on their menus that include mushrooms. But we do need to take a closer look.

Although eating common mushrooms (such as oyster, white button, and shiitake) raw is usually harmless uncooked mushrooms are largely indigestible. Cooking them makes it easier to digest the rigid cell walls, which are primarily made of chitin.

In this post, we'll discuss mushrooms raw eating: which mushrooms you can eat raw and which you shouldn't. We'll also talk about the few instances in which doing so is unsafe and whether eating mushrooms raw or cooked is healthy.

So, can you eat raw mushrooms? We have all the answers below.

Can You Eat Mushrooms Raw?

Can You Eat Mushrooms Raw?

Some mushrooms are fine to chow down raw; you can often fine them in salads in a fine-dining restaurant. But most are better cooked, and eating raw mushrooms is not always okay.

Now, you’re probably still wondering can I eat raw mushrooms? Not every mushroom is the same. Understanding which mushrooms are safe to consume raw and which ones you should avoid.

Wild mushrooms are a no-no. Do not, however, how alluring they may seem. Eat wild foraged mushrooms unless you are an expert. Since many wild mushrooms have similar appearances, you can mistake a dangerous fungus for a harmless one.

Unfortunately, this can have some terrible side effects. Are you genuinely willing to run the risk of some of these consequences turning out to be fatal?

You shouldn't go out searching for wild mushrooms to eat if you are not an expert on the subject. We still do not recommend picking them, even if you are stranded and come across some!

According to some nutritionists, white mushrooms—including Agaricus bisporus—should not be consumed raw. This is because agaratine, present in them, may be carcinogenic.

The amount of agaratine in white mushrooms is significantly reduced during cooking. Because of this, some advise consuming them only cooked.

Nonetheless, studies on people have revealed that raw white mushrooms are generally well tolerated and harmless. Little risk exists for probable carcinogenic consequences.

Agaratine is broken down by drying or refrigerating agaricus mushrooms just as much as it is by cooking them, according to research. If you purchase raw white mushrooms from a store, you probably keep them in your refrigerator until you're ready to consume them. Hence, they already have a significantly lower agaratine content.

You might wish to refrain from eating freshly picked mushrooms that contain agaratine. Yet aside from that, the risk seems to be relatively minimal.

If you are worried about agaritine in mushrooms, staying away from raw or cooked white mushrooms would be best. There are also other varieties of mushrooms, such as oyster mushrooms, that are agaratine-free.

With raw mushrooms, there is a chance of contamination as well. It is possible to contaminate raw mushrooms in several ways:

  • Improperly sterilized manure or compost.
  • Contaminated water.
  • Animal contact during and following harvest due to storing, handling, and transport.
  • Contamination in your refrigerator or the supermarket store.

While eating raw mushrooms, there is obviously a higher risk of food poisoning or digestive problems due to cross-contamination from counters and cutting boards.

However, many other varieties of mushrooms, like Lion's mane, can also be consumed raw. Let’s look at them in the next section.

Mushrooms Safe For Consumption

Mushrooms Safe For Consumption

Let's discuss a few popular varieties of mushrooms that are safe to consume raw.

The Fiery Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion's mane mushroom, also known as Hericium erinaceous(1) or Yamabushitake, is a peculiar-looking functional fungi. These toothed mushrooms, native to the temperate woods of North America, can be eaten raw (although it is better when cooked).

Hericium erinaceous is not poisonous; rather, it has a mild seafood-like flavor profile. So, if you like the taste of lobster or crab meat, eating Lion's mane raw may be for you. However, there are distinct benefits to cooking the fungus.

Everyone’s Favorite: Oyster Mushroom

All varieties of oyster mushrooms can be consumed raw, however, cooking them brings forth their best flavors. When oyster mushrooms are cooked, their slightly metallic taste and spongy texture are gone.

In theory, uncooked king oyster mushrooms are edible. But their raw texture is so hard and chewy that we doubt anyone would find them particularly enticing.

Are Mushrooms Healthier Raw or Cooked?

Are Mushrooms Healthier Raw or Cooked?

We’ve answered can mushroom be eaten raw? Now onto if they are healthy, cooked, or raw.

We've already discussed certain mushrooms common in restaurants and on dinner tables at home that you may eat raw or cooked.

If you are undecided about whether to eat a mushroom raw or cooked, think about whether it would be healthier to do so first. We'll take a look at this in a moment, but let's first validate your suspicions 

In general, mushrooms that have been cooked are healthier. Because these mushrooms also possess anti-cancer qualities, cooking them enhances the absorption of nutrients.

The level of polyphenols and antioxidants is also significantly increased by cooking mushrooms. Steer clear of boiling mushrooms since some nutrients will leak into the water. Your mushrooms' texture will also become soggier.

Deep-fried mushrooms can be mouth-watering. But despite the deliciousness, it is not a healthy option due to the high amount of saturated fats in frying oils.

We are aware that the chitin found in mushrooms is challenging to digest. To obtain nutritional benefits from them, in addition to dietary fiber, cooking is required.

Your body can more easily absorb the nutrients and health benefits of mushrooms when they have been cooked.

Having said that, they do lose a lot of water mass when you cook them, so some of these nutrients will also be lost. As a result, you need to eat more cooked mushrooms per serving.

Should You Eat Mushrooms Raw In Salad?

Should You Eat Mushrooms Raw In Salad?

As long as they are one of the safe varieties, eating raw mushrooms in a salad is acceptable. You can choose whether or not to eat raw button mushrooms in your salad after reading the potential hazards of agaratine above.

If you're unsure, you can always use oysters or shiitake mushrooms in their place. There are other ways to use cold mushrooms than putting them raw in a salad. Instead, you might experiment with including pickled or marinated mushrooms in your next salad.

Which Mushrooms Should Not Be Eaten Raw?

Which Mushrooms Should Not Be Eaten Raw?

It's important to note that some mushrooms can poison humans, whether consumed raw or cooked. Never consume a mushroom you can't recognize, no matter how you prepare it. The majority of toxic mushrooms are still dangerous after being cooked.

You still shouldn't consume some mushrooms uncooked, even if you can identify them with certainty. Reishi mushrooms are a good example. You'd have a terrible time attempting to bite into one when it's raw since they are so rough and woody.

Reishi mushrooms must be dried and crushed to maximize their medicinal benefits. You can then consume them by drinking Reishi tea or taking a tincture.

Any boletus mushroom, such as the porcini or penny bun, is another more challenging edible fungus you'll have difficulty eating uncooked.

The morel is an intriguing example of a gourmet edible fungus that shouldn't be consumed uncooked. When cooked, these mushrooms are a delicacy. But, eating morel mushrooms raw will give you stomach discomfort. In addition, they have minor toxicity in them. This poison is eliminated during cooking.

Similar to morel mushrooms, honey mushrooms should not be consumed raw. Moreover, eating raw honey mushrooms will give you nausea, stomach ache, and cramping.

FAQs About Can You Eat Raw Mushrooms

Are Mushrooms Healthier Cooked Or Raw?

Because of their thick cell walls, mushrooms are practically indigestible if you don't cook them. Its nutrients, which include protein, B vitamins, minerals, and various new components not present in other diets, are released when cooked thoroughly.

Can You Eat Raw Mushrooms Every Day?

Mushrooms can be eaten often as part of a balanced diet. Eating them raw may, however, cause some digestive upset. Furthermore, the health benefits of the mushrooms are enhanced when they are cooked.

Can You Eat Lion’s Mane Raw?

You can eat lion's mane mushrooms raw, cooked, dried, or steeped in tea. Several people compare their flavor to crab or lobster when they say it has a "seafood-like" flavor.

Key Takeaway

Well, can you eat raw mushrooms, then? Fresh mushrooms bought from superstores, grocery stores, or markets are safe to eat raw, although they are better cooked. And if you really want to eat mushrooms raw, pick Lion’s mane or Oyster mushrooms, as others have thick cell walls making them harder to digest.

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  1. Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia (1)

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