I used to swear at Turkey Tail Mushrooms (Trametes versicolor) for being the mushrooms that were the most likely to show up in my old stomping grounds of Toledo, Ohio, while out hunting other mushrooms. On a good day, I could find Maitake, Hen-of-the-Woods, Oyster, and a host of other good mushrooms. But on any given day, it was guaranteed I would find turkey tail, which is not something I used to use.
At that point, I was more interested in mushrooms for edibility than for medicinal properties, and turkey tail mushrooms were just too hard and leathery to eat. Then I learned that a couple of fellow foragers were using the mushroom as flavoring, not a primary ingredient. And, OK, I was really intrigued about its powerful medicinal benefits (turkey-tail mushrooms are used as a treatment for cancer, as well as for stimulating the immune system, among other things). I tried a little turkey tail, and it was delicious, and decided to celebrate, not damn, its abundant supply.
Can You Eat Turkey Tail Mushroom? Are They Edible?
Turkey tail mushrooms are edible, generally safe to eat or consume as supplements, and have very few adverse effects, but these are extremely rare. Remember, you should talk to your health care provider before starting using any type of herbal supplement, especially if you are taking medication already or you have any health conditions. The same rules apply with turkey tail mushrooms capsules.
Start off with a low dose of this mushroom to ensure that you will not experience any negative reactions. And, please note, turkey tail mushrooms are not recommended to use while pregnant or breastfeeding.
How to Make Turkey Tail Mushrooms Edible
Even if you cooked a turkey tail mushroom for days, you still end up with something that is about as hard as proverbial shoe leather. No amount of delicate shredding is going to make this mushroom taste good in your mouth. But the flavors are intriguing, making it a great candidate for The Bay Leaf Method.
Add fresh or dried turkey tail mushrooms to stock, gravy, and stew, but, just like the bay leaf, pull them out before serving. You can also steep them in other wild aromatics for a fun ingredient for wild ales and stouts. Dried and powdered, turkey tails make an excellent addition to flavorful wild spice mixes. Both these fragrant herbs share the characteristic that they are a little too hard to eat in their entirety, yet packed with flavor.
So, there are ways to reap the cooking pleasures from this ubiquitous mushroom, and as a bonus, get the benefits for strengthening your immune system.
You can find our favorite capsules, powders, and tincture’s on the following pages of our website and learn more about each individually: