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Twelve edible mushrooms of the United States/Agaricus campestris

Agaricus campestris, Meadow Mushroom

Figure 5, illustrating a specimen of Agaricus campestris (from original text).

To distinguish this species (campestris, or meadow mushroom) requires very little discrimination. The cap or pileus is fleshy, white, or tawny, sometimes brownish. When it is in its best condition for use the gills are a beautiful pink in color, ultimately becoming a deep brown, which reaches nearly to the stem, which carries a well-marked white woolly ring or volva. The cap is usually more or less adorned with minute silky fibrils. The margin generally extends a little beyond the outer extremity of the gills. It has an enticing fragrance, and the white flesh is sometimes inclined to change to pink when broken. It grows in open grassy places in fields and rich pastures, but never in thick woods.

It may be prepared for the table by stewing with butter, spice, parsley, sweet herbs, salt and pepper, and a little pure lemon juice. It makes a fine catsup, and cut up into small pieces and stewed with butter makes an agreeable adjunct to a steak or mutton chop. The catsup may be used to give flavor to soup or beef tea.

The mushroom should be eaten fresh and served hot.

Dr. Badham says:

"The mushroom having the same proximate principles as meat, requires, like meat, to be cooked."

Mr. Worthington G. Smith says:

"The Agaricus arvensis (horse mushroom) is a species very nearly allied to the meadow mushroom and frequently grows with it, but it is coarser and has not the same delicious flavor. It is usually much larger, often attaining enormous dimensions; it turns a brownish yellow color as soon as broken or bruised. The top in good specimens is smooth and snowy white; the gills are not the pure pink of the meadow mushroom, but a dirty brownish white, ultimately turning brown. It has a big, ragged, floccose ring, and the pithy stem is inclined to be hollow."