The eleven things you should know if you are going to look for mushrooms (and many recipes to enjoy them at home)

The eleven things you should know if you are going to look for mushrooms (and many recipes to enjoy them at home)

Mushrooms are the star product of autumn. Their variety and gastronomic richness make them highly valued in the kitchen, as they are authentic delicacies with many culinary possibilities. The experience of going to collect them by yourself is very rewarding but you have to take into account several issues, that’s why we tell you the 11 things you should know if you are going to look for mushrooms.

A fundamental aspect that the mushroom hunter must bear in mind is the respect for the natural environment. Mushrooms grow in the middle of nature and it is our responsibility to take care of the environment, respect plant and animal species and not alter the environment. Because in addition, going to look for mushrooms is also enjoying nature.

What exactly is a mushroom?

Before starting to look for mushrooms, it is convenient to know their general characteristics and the parts that make them up. A mushroom it is the body of a mushroom, the reproductive organ of the mycelia that form the fungus itself. Fungi reproduce by spores and feed on organic matter in the soil.

The mushroom itself is formed by the mycelium, the underground part, the volva, which is usually shaped like an inverted bell at the base, the foot or elongated body in which a membrane called a ring is sometimes located, and finally the hat. The mushroom hat is its most visible part, the “head”, which in turn is made up of the cuticle and the hymenium, the lower part.

When is the best time

The 11 things you should know if you are going to look for mushrooms

The autumn it is the best season to go mushroom hunting. After the summer heat and before the winter frosts, in autumn the temperatures soften, the days are shortened and, above all, the humidity of the environment increases. The best time is that of an autumn without great contrasts, because if the temperatures rise a lot during the day it can damage growth.

The typical late summer rain and this drop in temperatures lead to a higher humidity in natural areas that they already are by themselves. Normally the setera season begins to reappear after the first downpours that refresh the atmosphere, although it is necessary that there are no night frosts or strong winds.

Where to look and find mushrooms

The 11 things you should know if you are going to look for mushrooms

Although a priori mushrooms can be found throughout our country, it is clear that hthere are more favorable areas for it. In general, the entire northern half concentrates a good amount of mushrooms, especially in forests and mountain areas with lush vegetation.

Holm oak, beech and pine forests They are natural spaces very suitable for the appearance of mushrooms. The Pyrenean areas, the Basque Country and also the shady areas in Galicia rich in ferns and brambles stand out. Many mushrooms are also traditionally found in Soria, La Rioja, the valleys of Huesca, the Sierra de Madrid and also in some Andalusian natural parks, especially in Malaga.

Required permissions

The 11 things you should know if you are going to look for mushrooms

The search for mushrooms has become a very popular activity that has even led to the so-called mycological tourism. As it is a limited natural resource, which implies access to protected natural areas, in some regions you need to get a permit.

These permits, in the form of a mushroom finder card or a simple authorization, can vary both in price and seasonality, with one-day or full-season passes. They also usually establish a maximum authorized weight per person, and in this way it seeks to regulate the activity in the forests, protecting and promoting their sustainable development.

Basic equipment

The 11 things you should know if you are going to look for mushrooms

What do we need to go mushroom hunting? First of all, the most basic thing we would use for an excursion stream through the forest: comfortable and safe clothing. Good footwear suitable for natural soil, clothing that protects us from the cold without overheating and allows us good freedom of movement and possible rain protectors.

For the collection of mushrooms there are two essential elements: the basket and the razor or knife. Picked mushrooms must be transported in a wicker basket, never in plastic bags that would prevent perspiration, spoiling them. The basket also allows the spores to fall as we walk with it.

For excursions in more remote places, difficult terrain or outings of several days, we can add other objects to our equipment. A map and a compass They are always recommended when going out into nature, as well as flashlights, canteens and a first aid kit.

The species and their different zones

The 11 things you should know if you are going to look for mushrooms

Not all mushrooms can grow everywhere, there are species more likely to appear in specific areas, so it is another aspect to consider when we are going to undertake a mycological outing.

The boletus edulisFor example, they are one of the most popular species since they also adapt to different types of forests, from beech to oak and pine forests. The boletus pinicola, similar in its characteristics, is normally confined to pine forests.

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The chanterelle or rovelló, one of the most appreciated in cooking, grows best in humid areas of coniferous forests, especially in pine forests. The amanita caesarea, also called egg yolk, usually appear in Mediterranean areas, but it can also be found in the north, in siliceous lands under chestnut trees, cork oaks, oaks or holm oaks.

The morels meanwhile, it has its best season in spring, in humid areas of ash and fir trees, and the curious trumpet of the dead grows in groups from late summer under the shelter of beech and oak.

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How to cut them without damaging them

The 11 things you should know if you are going to look for mushrooms

When we find a mushroom, we must proceed appropriately to collect it. We don’t want to harm the environment or the mushroom itself, to ensure that we can fully enjoy its characteristics.

Before cutting we have to ask ourselves if we have correctly identified the mushroom and if it is the necessary size to take it with us, otherwise better not touch it. We do not have to remove the soil or the litter, and we have to avoid uprooting it.

With a suitable razor or good knife, we will proceed to cut the foot trying not to take dirt or the mycelia of the fungus. If you have leaves or dirt attached, we can gently remove the largest remains, but we will do the final cleaning at home. The mushrooms are placed in the wicker basket, remember to avoid plastic.

How to keep mushrooms at home

The 11 things you should know if you are going to look for mushrooms

The best way to enjoy all the flavor of mushrooms is consume them in the shortest possible time. To keep them at home without spoiling too much, we can keep them in the fridge for up to a couple of days. It is best to place them on a tray, without stacking them, with the sheets facing down and without covering them.

To keep them for longer can be frozen. We have to clean them beforehand and dry them well, gently. We can cut them into slices and freeze them raw, or blanch them whole for one or two minutes. When blanching them we also have the option of storing them in olive oil preserves.

How to dehydrate mushrooms at home.  Cooking tips

Consult the expert

The 11 things you should know if you are going to look for mushrooms

It is very important to have a good knowledge of which mushrooms are edible and which are not. Some mushrooms are simply not attractive for culinary use, but there are many toxic species that can even be deadly.

If we do not have a good basic knowledge always consult the experts in this field. In many areas of mycological interest there are usually professionals available to the public, even in some environmental centers or botanical gardens we can take our mushrooms to confirm their identification.

When in doubt, discard them

The 11 things you should know if you are going to look for mushrooms

There is a maximum rule that we must always comply with to avoid scares and bad experiences: if we doubt that a mushroom is edible, it is best to discard it. Faced with the slightest possibility of mistaking a piece for a toxic species, it is never worth taking the risk.

Take with you mushroom manuals with good photographs, compare the images well and know which species are more prone to being confused with mushrooms that are not suitable for consumption. Mushrooms are a gastronomic delight but safety and health always come first.

Mushroom hunting apps

The 11 things you should know if you are going to look for mushrooms

Nowadays it seems that there are applications for everything, and of course there are also some very interesting ones to help us look for mushrooms. Advances in the latest technologies are very practical and can facilitate the search and collection task.

Although most are paid applications, their price is very low and it may be worth investing in them, especially if we are first timers. We can find applications to distinguish species, to identify toxic mushrooms and even to find and save the best areas to find mushrooms.

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Organizing an excursion to the mountains or the countryside with family or friends to look for mushrooms is one of the most satisfying activities we can do this fall. Follow all these tips with everything you need to know to pick mushrooms and go ahead and enjoy the passion for mycology. Tasting delicious mushrooms collected by us is a pleasure that is definitely worth it.

Recipes for cooking mushrooms at home

Boletus Appilote

Boletus al papillote.

Ravioli

Pumpkin ravioli with mushroom filling.

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