I dont touch them at the moment as I dont know what I am doing, but plan to go on a course soon, which is why I went for 'No but I would like to. Will probably try to find a couple of courses based near me before I take the advice quoted above & try to reliably identify just 3 or 4 that grow near me and are woth the effort (& risk?) of eating. Good skill to have but I want lots of lessons before I jump inI think a mistake a lot of people make is trying to learn too many at once... Yes, there are a lot of edible fungi out there, but when you narrow it down to the ones that are (a) really tasty, (b) fairly common, (c) easy to identify, and (d) available in your local habitat, you're probably down to a half dozen or so. Learn to identify the 3 or 4 best options absolutely reliably, and stick with them until you're never going to forget them. Then you can move on to learning others.
Sure, you can take the books and have a play from time to time, but don't get caught up in trying to ID every single 'shroom you see - you'll be there forever, and you'll never remember any of them. For example, we often see posts asking for IDs on various LBMs (Little Brown Mushrooms)... What's the point? They're not worth bothering with anyway, even if they weren't an absolute nightmare to ID. Ignore them completely unless you really want to be a serious mycologist.
I know where to find plenty of jews ears but they just don't appeal to me! Trying to find a god supply of boletes and chanterelles has eluded me since moving back to UK, very frustrating! On the other hand, since I am now confident with Amethyst Deceiver, I know where to get plenty of them and nearby is a patch of puffballs that I hope will show themselves in the next month or so. I need some good boletes though, I have very few left from Germany that I have eked out for over two years now!
I tend to agree with you about reducing our impact which is why I rarely pick mushrooms unless they are in plentiful supply.This is a thought provoking subject.
I have thought long and hard about wilderness food and have decided to leave it where it is, I look but dont touch. The reason is simple, more woodland and natural environment is being lost every day. The areas I have acess to are used by others and it is so easy to over glean an area. Part of my appreciation of bushcraft is the knowlege that I am not unthinkingly 'gleaning out an area' of natural resources. Often i will hump in my own fire wood (pallets burn wonderfully!), pre-chopped in a sack. Some may consider it a bit extreme, but try finding unmolested woods and forest in the South East.
Look, appreciate, identify and let it live its life cycle.
I have put down other things to concentrate on, but its not true. I think a lot of us just let it live and appreciate that its just there unharmed.
They do contain some protein and lot of vital minerals to keep the brain working well, but I tend to stick to meat too :-DNo - Fungi have little or no calorific value and at best are a food "additive" Plus if you get it wrong you can die an agonising and painful death. i'll stick to foraging MEAT!!