When summer starts to end, the mushroom season starts! The best time for a successfull mushroom foray is when it is still kind of warm and the forest is wet from earlier heavy rains. Exactly then the mushrooms start sprouting on the wet forest floor and we can instantly pick them, when we consider some tips & tricks. Because we love to breathe the fresh air in the forest and go on a expedition, we compiled a little advisor, so your next mushroom foray will be a raving success.
Tip 1 – Knowledge
Before you start your first mushroom foray, you should definitely familiarize yourself with the toxic mushrooms and potentially bring proper (up-to-date) specialist literature to your tour. Even if you think you are able to identify well-known mushrooms, be careful, because to almost every eatable mushroom there is a look-alike mushroom, which is highly toxic. So rather look precisely and compare with your book, so you can minimize the risk of collecting toxic mushrooms.
Tip 2 – Equipment
Another important point at the mushroom foray is the right equipment. Next to long clothes in discreet colours and tight shoes, you need a small kitchen-/pocketknife with a sharp edge and a basket, so you can bring home your collected mushrooms.
Tip 3 – Harvest
After you informed yourself in specialist literature and are perfectly equipped, you start your mushroom foray. Soon you will (hopefully) spot your object of desire. To avoid destroying the mushroom and to ensure the survival of mushrooms in nature, you should either gently unscrew the mushroom or cut it off with the knife close to the ground. Do not crack them out or kick them with the foot. If you find mushrooms, which are growing in a group, don’t harvest the complete group, because it can facilitate the extinction of it. Even if the enticement is big, to harvest all mushrooms you find on your way, be provident about how much mushrooms you can handle and how much you will really eat.
Tip 4 – Respect the nature
Only mushrooms, which are clearly identified as eatable should find their way in your basket. All the other mushrooms, which are identified as toxic, should not be cracked off the ground or destroyed with your shoes. Even though these mushrooms are toxic for us, they have other important tasks in nature or serve as food for many animals in the forest.
Tip 5 – Processing
The best way is to process your collected mushrooms right after your tour, still fresh and can’t rot by wrong storage. For transport and storage you should consider that mushrooms need a lot of air, to not dry out. Stored cool and dry mushrooms can be used till up to 3 days after harvesting, after that they should be processed or frozen. Cleaning the mushrooms with a small knife or (if the mushroom isn’t too dirty) with a paper towel, should be made right after the tour respectively you can do the rough pre-cleaning directly in the forest. After you cleaned the mushrooms, you can use them instantly for fresh mushroom-dish. Other options are drying the mushrooms or (after you blanched them) freeze them for up to 6 months in the freezer.
Tip 6 – Be careful with Identification-Apps
Nowadays there are Apps for everything. So of course there are Apps, which try to help you identify the mushrooms you find. The user himself has to type in the exact characteristics of the mushroom and the App estimates on basis of this which mushroom you have in your hands. But this is dangerous: as a layman you are not able to identify all the distinctive features of a mushroom, so you type in wrong information and the App estimates a wrong identification. That’s why you should only use those Apps, if you already have solid fundamentals in mushrooms and want to enlarge your knowledge.
We are at the end of our little advisor, so we wish you a great success for your next mushroom foray und hope you come back home with a basket filled to the rim with mushrooms, to cook yourself your favourite mushroom-dish 🙂