Get a book about mushrooms and study it.
I have the National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Familiar Mushrooms, which has great pictures as well as descriptions and edibility/toxicity information. It is handy because it will also point out when a common edible mushroom has a similar looking toxic counterpoint, which could potentially save your life.
Stick with the mushrooms that may be identified by a many unique characteristics. Boletus family mushrooms are a great, “starter mushroom”. Also, you should perform a spore print test on a piece of aluminium foil to test the spore color. Also, make sure that you get the whole stem, otherwise valuable identifying traits may be lost. Moderation is always good, and be sure to cook them because they may carry parasites or bacteria (plus they generally taste better). A great way to cook them is sliced, in a pan, with light butter. I have attached a basic guide to edible mushrooms in Missouri. Of course, you will want to get a definitive guide before you begin. Happy hunting!
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