I have never been foraging for wild mushrooms. I’ve gone to pick raspberries or find stuff in the garden, but it’s almost always been for things that I was directly involved with growing.
So the idea of going foraging for wild mushrooms with people who really know what they were doing seemed quite fun and exciting.
Peter, Ivo, and Lucia and I all set out into the forest, about 30 minutes from Lucia’s parent’s house.
For the next hour, we walked through the underbrush looking for the mushrooms that were edible, and avoiding the mushrooms that were poisonous.
The ones that are poisonous have button-looking spores on top.
They also have ruffles underneath.
So I was told.
However, it’s not always true.
Case in point: Every mushroom I pointed at was either poisonous or not tasty.
“How do you know which are good and which aren’t?” I asked Lucia.
“You just know,” she responded.
The next 30 minutes were spent with me picking mushrooms and asking Lucia, Ivo, or Peter variations of the question, “How about this one?”
Lucia: “Definitely not”
After about an hour, Ivo was the decided winner in the mushroom finding contest (a source of pride among my three friends).
Ivo found more mushrooms, and better quality mushrooms. But Peter and Lucia also found quite a few to take home.
My count of found mushrooms: 154.
My count of found EDIBLE mushrooms: 0.
Guess I’m going to have to do this a bit more to know what’s edible (or edible and flavorful) and what’s not.
But the time spent in the Slovakian forest was amazing.
The Goulash made by Lucia’s mom from the mushrooms was also super fantastic.
(And three of the mushrooms that came back from the foraging were potentially poisonous… but Lucia’s mom picked them out before cooking the Goulash.)
On the way back, we found bushes growing with thousands of the sweetest and most flavorful wild raspberries I’ve ever had, and I got to take pictures of the amazing sunset over the mountains of Slovakia.
Thanks Peter, Lucia, and Ivo, for taking me on my first ever mushroom foraging experience.