Can you eat raw mushrooms?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “Can you eat raw mushrooms?”, and other queries related to this topic.

Can you eat raw mushrooms? 

Yes, you can eat raw mushrooms. Most of the safe mushrooms like white mushrooms, oysters, and shiitake are extremely safe to be consumed raw but their digestibility is better when consumed cooked. 

Mushrooms contain a substance called chitin, this substance constitutes the cell walls of the mushrooms and is also found in the shell of some shellfish like crabs. 

Humans have an enzyme in their digestive system that helps in digesting this substance called chitinase. But this enzyme can not digest this whole substance.

So, when not well digested the nutrients and the vitamins in the mushrooms can not be well absorbed into the blood. When cooked, chitin will be destroyed, which makes its digestion better and easier but you might risk losing some nutrients but you can get them from other sources.

When cooking raw mushrooms and due to the heat and the high temperatures bacteria and pathogens can be killed. Moreover, many toxins in the mushrooms can be destroyed under heat. But it is still inadvisable to eat mushrooms that contain toxins.

Several types of mushrooms can be consumed raw. For example, the shiitake mushroom has a garlic and pepper-like flavor. Some people can not support its strong taste and they prefer it cooked. Also, we have oyster mushrooms that can be consumed raw but their taste becomes better when cooked. 

Mushrooms are considered a good addition to your salad since they are high in fiber and antioxidants and it was found that consuming mushrooms can reduce your chance of developing dementia.

Also, this food is low in calories but it is high in potassium, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin D especially when they are grown outside and exposed to sunlight. However, some people with some health problems should completely avoid eating mushrooms, especially those having allergies to mushrooms and pregnant women.

Because mushrooms can be contaminated with bacteria and are less likely to be well cleaned. So, dirt might expose the mother and the baby to several health problems that might affect the development and the growth of the baby so better consume them canned after washing them well.

When adding mushrooms to the salad or eating raw, you will feel that their texture is more spongy and they have an earthy taste compared to cooked mushrooms which have a much softer and weaker taste. So, if you can not support the taste of the raw and fresh mushrooms, consume them cooked.

Each type of mushroom should be treated differently because each type has a different size and texture. For example, when you want to consume big mushrooms like portabellas you need to remove their stems because generally, it is hard to chew, especially when they are raw.  

Also, one of the major hazards of raw mushrooms is dirt. So, before you consume them, clean the mushrooms by rinsing them with clean water or you can simply wipe them with a wet and clean paper towel.

What are the types of mushrooms that should not be eaten raw?

The majority of mushrooms are safe to be consumed by humans but also there is a list of mushrooms that should be avoided because they can be poisonous or inedible when consumed raw. Poison in some mushrooms can remain inside them even when cooked.

For example, Reishi mushrooms are not poisonous but unpalatable due to their tough texture. So, you will not be able to chew these mushrooms. Instead, this type of mushroom has many medical benefits. When dried and crushed you prepare it as a tea or you can simply ingest them.

Another example of mushrooms that should not be consumed is raw morel mushrooms. This mushroom contains a mild percentage of toxins and when ingested it will lead to stomach and abdominal pain. But when cooked, toxins are destroyed and it will be completely safe.

How to know the poisonous mushrooms?

There is a large variety of mushrooms, some of them are safe to be consumed and others are poisonous and should be completely avoided to prevent any harmful effect on health. Some mushroom families like the Amanita family are extremely poisonous. 

When consumed you will feel some nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and hallucinations. But also in extreme cases, it will lead to breathing difficulties and even death. Few signs indicate mushrooms from the Amanita family like the ring on the stem, the white gills, and the shape of its base. 

The color of the mushroom is a major sign of its toxicity especially those with a red color. So, avoid these types of mushrooms. Also, when you feel that the mushroom has a sweet smell that means it is toxic and poisonous if consumed, do not touch it.


In this brief guide, we discussed the following question, “ can you eat raw mushrooms?” and other queries related to this topic.


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