It’s safe to say that the flavor of magic mushrooms is an acquired taste. They aren’t as delicate as a chanterelle or as decadent as a morel. They lack the umami of the portobello, the pepper of the maitake. So, what do shrooms taste like, really? Keep reading, and we’ll tell you how to transform this fungus’ funky flavor into something fantastic.
What Do Shrooms Taste Like?
“They taste like shit. Beautiful, magical shit,” writes one Reddit commenter. “Like feet,” answers a psychonaut on Shroomery. “Like sunflower seed shells,” writes another. And the descriptions keep coming: unseasoned pumpkin seeds, mushroom-coated raw almonds, uncooked button mushrooms from the grocery store. Metallic. Earthy. Bitter. Like dirt.
There is little debate that magic mushrooms have a unique flavor—but how exactly do you describe it? Well, that’s up to interpretation. To some, the flavor is gag-worthy and extremely unpleasant. To others, the taste is what you can expect from many mushrooms.
Every person’s tolerance to the flavor of shrooms is unique to their personal experience: Some people may balk at the bitterness of the mushrooms, while another person may pick up on a nutty flavor. Most people would agree, however, that magic mushrooms have an earthy taste, far from sweet. These mushrooms are not the culinary mushrooms that add umami to soups and veggie burgers; shrooms taste more like soil and feature a spongy, chewy, and fibrous texture to boot.
Mycologists have a unique word for describing the flavor and aroma of fresh mushrooms: farinaceous. The word describes a starchy flour-like scent, much like the aroma of fresh pastry dough. When psilocybe mushrooms are fresh, this flour-like flavor may be more apparent. However, as the mushrooms dry, they may take on different flavors depending on the mushroom species, their quality, and their age.
How To Make Magic Mushrooms Taste Better
Some people are more sensitive to smells, tastes, and textures than others. As such, finding ways to disguise the taste of mushrooms can help you fend off an initial queasiness caused by their flavor and texture. Here are some general tips and techniques that can help:
Make Mushroom Powder
Many people choose to powder their dry mushrooms using a clean electric herb or coffee grinder. The powder can be added to coffee or tea, mixed into smoothies, or added or stirred into a warm pasta sauce with ease, functionally eliminating the taste. Mushroom powder is also sometimes encased in a capsule, creating a magic mushroom pill that bypasses the bitter taste and upset stomach that often go hand-in-hand with shrooms.
The downside? Mushroom powder is difficult—and often messy—to dose. A kitchen scale is required to ensure that you measure out the desired dosage of the mushroom; otherwise, you may be in for a much stronger experience than you might expect.
Mix Your Mushrooms With Food
Psilocybin mushrooms can be eaten just like any other mushroom—with food. Chop dried psilocybin mushrooms with a sharp knife, hydrate them with a small amount of warm vegetable stock, and add everything into a warm pasta sauce. Use mushrooms as a pizza topping, add the mushrooms to a soup, blend them up into a fruit smoothie. Imagination is the limit when it comes to these mind-bending fungi.
Cooking with magic mushrooms is another option, although the topic of cooking shrooms is somewhat contentious. Some dedicated psychonauts claim that cooking at high temperatures denatures psilocybin, the primary psychedelic compound in the mushrooms. For this reason, those who cook with psilocybin mushrooms tend to keep temperatures low and try to minimize the cooking time. Some cooking methods, like steaming, may be preferable to sautéing and baking the shrooms—although delights like magic mushroom brownies are certainly potent and delicious.
A final word of wisdom: Don’t forget to record and closely monitor your dosage. Accidentally eating too many magic mushrooms is perhaps the greatest risk of cooking with the fungi. It may be preferable to add mushrooms to foods when you’ve already portioned out your serving.
Add a Chaser
The flavor isn’t the only challenge with magic mushrooms—their texture can also be less than inviting. Both fresh and dried mushrooms can be quite chewy, with fresh mushrooms featuring a spongy texture. If you plan on simply snacking on the mushrooms whole, then you’ll likely find out rather quickly that you need something to drink.
Teas, juices, and water with lemon are great options to help you wash down the chewy fungi and kick the bitter aftertaste simultaneously. Or, you can always follow the advice of one Quora commenter: “I found that a good cup of black tea [with] a few spoons of sugar and it is really nice experience.”
Best Ways To Take Mushrooms
Most consumers who first encounter shrooms are tempted to eat them whole—a perfectly reasonable way to go about a mushroom trip. However, eating whole shrooms comes with some downsides. Not only are their taste and texture challenging, but the fibrous fungi are difficult to digest. Nausea and an upset stomach are common side effects after eating fresh or dried psilocybin mushrooms. Fortunately, you can reduce the chances of nausea by opting for a gentler consumption method.
Tea is one of the most popular methods for consuming magic mushrooms—and it’s certainly the easiest on the stomach. Mushroom teas have a faster onset than other edible preparations; the liquid preparation makes the psilocybin more available to the human body. The duration of the trip also tends to be shorter.
Preparing mushroom tea is akin to making a simple psilocybin extraction; psilocybin is water-soluble, so it easily melts in hot water. Although, it’s impossible to tell whether or not you’ve extracted all of the psilocybin present in the mushroom while making a simple tea. Mushroom teas can be less potent than ingesting whole psilocybin mushrooms if the mushrooms are strained out. Chopping or powdering your mushrooms will increase the amount of psilocybin extracted from mushrooms, making the tea more potent. Add lemon, honey, or simple syrup to mask the earthy taste of the tea.
Read: How To Make Mushroom Tea
Smoothies are another easy and popular method of consuming shrooms. Not only are they fast to make, but they mask the taste of shrooms quite well. Many psychonauts opt for fruit smoothies; frozen mango, frozen berries, and fruit sherbets make delicious additions. Alternatively, cacao and peanut butter can also mask the flavor of magic mushrooms. As a liquid preparation, a shroom smoothie may have a faster onset than other edible preparations.
Lemon tek is the final liquid preparation on this brief list. To make lemon tek, soak mushrooms in lemon juice for at least ten minutes prior to consumption. Then, drink the infused juice as a shot—a magical take on a wheatgrass shot, perhaps. Not only does the lemon juice mask the flavor of the mushrooms, but the citric acid in the juice may actually begin to break down the mushrooms before consumption. As a result, many psychonauts experience a strong and fast-onset mushroom experience.
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Mushroom chocolates are perhaps the tastiest way to consume psilocybin. To make mushroom chocolates, mushroom powder or chopped chunks of dried mushroom are mixed into melted chocolate. You can pour the melted chocolate into molds to make peanut butter cups, chocolate candies, or even chocolate truffles. Although, as with any infused food, it’s essential to pay attention to the amount of mushroom that winds up in each serving—no one wants a surprise.
Who knew that such earthy mushrooms would benefit from something as sweet as honey? Chopped dried mushrooms can be mixed with honey and left to infuse overnight—or in the fridge for several months if your mushrooms are completely covered. The honey will turn blue as psilocin—the molecule that actually causes a mushroom trip—infuses into the sticky goo. You can add this blue honey to teas, other beverages or eat a spoonful when you’re in the mood for a trip.
Most consumers partake in magic mushrooms for the psychoactive experience, and their culinary potential is often overlooked. Yet, if you’re going to trip on shrooms, there’s something to be said about making the experience as pleasant as possible—from the first sip of tea to the last bite of chocolate. And don’t forget: proper dosage is essential for all culinary adventures.