Thursday, 10 October 2013

Food for Free: Foraging Wild Mushrooms

Do you like to have food for free? There are many ways for that ... but then again, there is always something to give to get something. Even when you are invited for dinner by a friend, you have to give something. A 'thank you' would be something good, although it doesn't seem too common anymore. At least you have to get to the place to get the food ...
Wait! We don't want to go that far in classing 'food for free'. Let's talk about foraging. You have to invest some time to get the food. Also you need to get answers ... answers to the questions: What? When? Where?
This would be a good spot for free food ...

But when and what?

Right now seems to be the right time to go foraging in the woods. What is there to find?
Boletus edulis. What is that? Mushrooms. Commonly it is known as penny bun, porcino or cep. This mushroom is widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere across Europe, Asia and North America.
Well, that is a valuable ingredient for cooking. In order to get it fresh, I guess you have to go into the forest, for as far as I have seen it, in shops you find only dried ones and that at a high price.
So get ready for foraging ...

I don't consider myself an expert. I only went three times foraging for porcini and other wild mushrooms. Just today I took those two forest photos and went to see whether I find some mushrooms as well. Fine, I didn't.
They are also not so easily to spot with all the fallen leaves on the ground in the forest. Most of the mushrooms are most likely covered by leaves and just a few broke through. However, then the colour is quite similar to that of the leaves on the ground. So you need to have a close look.
Some weeks ago a friend took my out foraging for mushrooms and told me what to look for and how the porcini look in the first place. Still it was hard. Nevertheless we found some wild mushrooms.

While that basket looks a bit optimistic ... eh ... at least we found something. That was all I got. The others got some mushrooms for themselves. Just before I left to go to my place to decide what to do with the mushrooms, my friend had a look again at the mushrooms in my basket, whether any had changed colour. That is supposed to be a sign for having the wrong mushrooms. Some which are not edible. Gladly, all my mushrooms kept their colour, meaning they were porcini and I could go and eat them.

A slightly closer look at the mushrooms. Now, what do with them? You could use them in soup, a pasta dish, or have some risotto.
I decided to have something completely different, something simple ... with bread. So I can enjoy the pure flavour of the porcini.

Get the toaster ready and toast two slices of bread. Then rub the bread with garlic and spread butter on it. Set the bread aside and concentrate on the mushrooms.
Heat some butter in a frying pan and then toss in the mushrooms, which you have cut into smaller pieces before. Let things go until the porcini have softened. Season with salt and pepper and ... if you have some nice herbs you like to use ... add them as well.

Onto the bread with the mushrooms and ... into your stomach with them. Well, you can really be lucky, if you have the chance to get food for free. Should it be by foraging, it's great. However, I even wouldn't mind, if someone would invite me for dinner ...


  1. Looking so good! I love wild mushrooms, and mushroom-picking is a very popular hobby in Russia.

    1. For sure I will try again, although it's only save for me to take porcini.


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