5 tips for picking mushrooms

5 tips for picking mushrooms

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It's mushroom season! What a joy to go for a walk in the forest and take in the basket full of porcini mushrooms, chanterelles, boletus and coulemelles! But to avoid becoming intoxicated or destroying forest ecosystems, you have to be well prepared to take better advantage of them. All our advice for a successful mushroom picking.

1 / The right preparation: learning to recognize mushrooms

Before becoming a mushroom picking champion, you have to take the risk of spending long hours looking in front of your feet before coming back empty-handed or worse, the basket full of toxic mushrooms. It must be said that nothing looks more like an edible mushroom than another poisonous mushroom! So first of all, we take the time to revise our databases by consulting an encyclopedia of mushrooms or by downloading a specialized application. For neophytes, the ideal is to start learning in the field, by accompanying an expert. Little by little, you will learn to recognize the most common edible mushrooms in your region, but also the most dangerous. If you do not know anyone to initiate you, do not hesitate to turn to local associations.

Edible or toxic?

2 / Picking mushrooms: the right material

Far from being only decorative, the basket allows the mushrooms to be placed next to each other while leaving them in the open air. Indeed, the mushrooms should especially not be superimposed in a plastic bag where they could ferment and rot, which would make them unfit for consumption. If you are lucky enough to find several different varieties, take care not to mix them so that toxic mushrooms do not come to contaminate the good ones! And if the harvest looks good, do not hesitate to provide two baskets. The second essential accessory for the mushroom picker is a knife, which allows the mushroom to be cut cleanly at the foot. Some models even have a small brush to remove the soil before placing the mushroom in the basket. Finally, before leaving, make sure you are well covered and well fitted to walk for a long time in the undergrowth, bring a rain suit if the weather changes, and do not forget your book to identify the fungi.

One basket per variety to avoid any risk of contamination

3 / The right time and the right place to pick mushrooms

Between them, specialists often speak of "mushroom days" and "mushroom corners". But how do you recognize them? In theory, the best days are often in autumn, when the sun returns to heat the earth after several rainy days. Depending on the variety and the region, you can also go and pick mushrooms in summer or spring, provided the weather forecast for the sun after the rain. To find the right "mushroom corner", it is already better to avoid all the areas located near roads, parking lots and factories, because the pollutants of the earth are likely to end up directly on your plate ... We also avoid public parks and private domains, as well as game reserves to avoid catching a stray bullet! After that, it takes patience to find the right spot, with a hint: all the same, they are already known by the other walkers, who all gather in the same place!

Patience is often rewarded!

4 / Mushroom picking: the right look and the right gesture

Once in the field, it's time to open your eyes, and the right one. When you find a mushroom, start by observing it and pick it only if it seems edible to you. The mushroom should not be too old or too damaged. If so, start by checking its name in your guide or on your app, then cut it with your knife, remove the soil and place it in your basket. Always cut off the foot to facilitate definitive identification once the harvest is complete. In all cases, it is important to respect the forest ecosystem by avoiding picking too many mushrooms, lifting the leaves, raking the soil, tearing off the feet or destroying old mushrooms. Let nature do its work so that other mushrooms can grow again the following week!

Soil, moss and branches should not be moved ...

5 / The right reflex: have your picking checked

As long as you are not an expert in mycology, it is imperative to have your picking checked by a pharmacist or a specialized association. Indeed, it must be said and reiterated that certain varieties of mushrooms look like two drops of water, one being edible and the other toxic. Above all, don't trust your application (even less if it offers photo recognition), and take the time to take a detour to the pharmacy. Otherwise, if you are really sure of yourself, avoid all the same as a precaution to give mushrooms to young children and pregnant women and consume your harvest quickly, at the latest the day after picking.

6 / The right recipe

Once back home, pass the mushrooms under cold water to wash the earth, cut the damaged parts and cook them without waiting too long. Mushrooms are fragile and do not keep for more than two days in the refrigerator. If you have too much, you can also freeze them, dry them or cook them in natural jars in boiling salted brine at 15 g / liter. Aside from the traditional pan-fried garlic and herbs or the mushroom omelette, remember to cook your mushrooms in cream soups, in risotto or in refined pasta dishes! If you still notice signs of intoxication such as nausea, vomiting or tremors, call 15 immediately.

The chanterelles in jars keep for a long time in brine