More than 2,000 varieties of wild mushroom grow in Ohio. Most of them are either unfit for eating due to their poor taste or small size, or are not well-known enough to be considered safe, according to the Ohio State University website. There are some delicious, rare mushrooms just waiting to be found, but some are poisonous, so if you are collecting mushrooms for the first time, go with an experienced picker.
Time it right. Most edible mushrooms grow in Ohio from mid-summer to late autumn. It’s important to get your timing right, or you might end up trawling through the undergrowth for no good reason.
Join a club. A lot of edible mushrooms look just like poisonous ones, so go searching with a group of experienced pickers. Try the Ohio Mushroom Society or the North American Mycological Association.
Get a good book. A reference book will help you distinguish between poisonous and edible mushrooms, but remember it’s not a replacement for expert knowledge. Try the "Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms," by Gary Lincoff, or Kent and Vera McKnight's "Field Guide to Mushrooms of North America."
Search under trees. Edible Slippery Jacks grow under pines and bright yellow Chanterelles grow beneath hardwood trees like oak between June and September. Be careful, though, as some lookalikes are poisonous.
Search in open areas. Rare but delicious Giant Puffballs, which are whitish can can look like Styrofoam globes, grow in meadows and other open areas between late August and early October. Tasty Meadow mushrooms, which are similar in appearance to common grocery store mushrooms, grow on grass in late summer and early fall, and both edible and poisonous Russulas grow in woodland in summer and fall.
The beautifully colorful Russula mushroom is sometimes edible and sometimes poisonous, and the tasty morel looks remarkably similar to the false morel. It’s therefore essential to get it right by searching with experienced mushroom pickers. Morel gathering is a restricted practice, so get permission from relevant authorities before picking.