Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Great Mushroom Hunt

This past Sunday I woke up to rainy dreariness. But for some reason an idea took hold of my thoughts and I couldn't shake it - I wanted to go mushroom picking! Right now it's the season to pick mushrooms, specifically kantareller. I knew J wouldn't be up for it, although I asked him anyway. He just doesn't revel in tramping around in the lovely Swedish woods searching for the elusive kantarell mushroom. So, I texted my good friend M and asked if she was up for it. I believe her response was something along "Hell yes I want to go!" So with that, within the next hour or two we were off, two Americans tramping through the Swedish forest searching continually for a certain kind of mushroom. We were rather proud of ourselves, as neither of us grew up being in the middle of nature very often. If I ever wanted to go into the woods, I had to find a metro park in Ohio!

If you clicked on my link up there, it doesn't look like a particularly tasty mushroom. Many might contend that any mushroom doesn't really look very appetizing. I am one of those who absolutely loves the delectable fungi. But why were we looking for these specific, deceivingly toxic looking mushrooms? Well for one, I think it's simply fun to look for something in the forest when they're supposed to be only wild grown. It felt like such triumph whenever we found some. These special mushrooms also happen to be quite expensive at the store, I think especially since they are only wild grown (or this is what I have heard, anyway). While at the store yesterday I decided to check and see the price of kantareller, and it was 249:- per kilo. If I equate that to American measurements, they are roughly $19 per pound. Talk about expensive mushrooms!

I ended up taking M's mushrooms too because she discovered a slug on one of her mushrooms and therefore felt she could never eat any of them. I guess she got pretty grossed out. I was a happy camper! I ended up making a mushroom soup out of them, they have so much flavor! It was quite tasty. (That's not actually a picture I took, but that's pretty much how my soup turned out/looked.)

We had so much fun in the rainy Swedish woods on Sunday, we are in fact returning to the woods tomorrow (a different wood this time) to take up the hunt again! I will probably end up with all the mushrooms again, but at least M enjoys the hunt just as much as I do!


Ben said...

Hi Jessica,

I really enjoyed reading your post about the Great Mushroom Hunt. And I enjoyed reading your friend M's side of the story, too.

To be honest, her almost compulsive attitude towards all those nice little creatures living in the wild not only made me laugh, but remembered me of something that happened to us, during our first mushroom hunting season in Sweden. Getting tired of kantareller whe decided to pick some nice stensopp - also known as Karljohan mushrooms. We did not clean them right away, but left them lying in the kitchen overnight. The next morning, when I returned from my walk with Jeanny, Nicôle was frantically cleaning the kitchen sink... and the rest of the kitchen. It turned out that, during the night, a whole army of maggots had crawled out of the mushrooms. The beautiful Karljohan mushrooms had already been thrown out of the house and my remark that a few maggots did not mean the end of the world, did not make things any better. Since then, no stensopp had been brought in to our kitchen again.

Anyway, there are people who would consider slugs and snails as 'haute cuisine' so they should go well as a side dish to the kantareller ;-)

I am impressed that a city girl like you went out into the woods to gather her own food. Well done!

Good hunting! (on mushrooms that is)

Jessica said...

Hi Ben,

Thanks for the compliments!

I love doing absolutely anything considered "very Swedish." I think it's so fun and interesting to not only learn about another culture, but adopt it yourself! Hopefully later this month or in September I'll go lingon picking with my sambo's family since I completely love those little berries.

And I'm glad M isn't the only one who freaks out from bugs, because she did freak out pretty severely. I have no qualm with creepy crawlers on my food, all our food comes from the ground pretty much. All it needs is a good cleaning. I was a happy camper to get her haul!

We had to cancel our mushroom hunt last Friday due to bucketloads of rain. I hope she and I can go again soon!