Here we are in Autumn, surrounded by the colorful landscape of leaves and late blooming fruits and flowers. It is 3°C outside, with a chilly wind that begs for firewood burning in our living room stove.
Sweden has a short fall season, giving way to the frigid darkness that takes over morning and evening commutes. The lake by our house is calling for more kayaking, but planning for good weather is tough.
Instead, I thought it fun to get lost in the woods, surrounded by farmlands, vast and open after the recent harvests. Following curiosity and my inner compass, my feet lead across to a dense forest begging of folklore.
So, what the hell is svamping? A popular and cultural rite to living in this mysterious natural habitat, ‘Svamping’ is the act of picking mushrooms. Oh and there are some beauties out there!
The most popular ‘shroom is the kantarell. It has a rich and full taste that is delicious when pan seared into a brown gravy and served over toast. Kantarell are the pumpkin of Sweden. I only mean it in a commercial way. In the USA, our favorite pumpkin flavor has infiltrated every possible food and drink imaginable.
The best time to pick these is after a rain spell, because the moisture promotes funghi growth. I still have not found a kanterell, but I hope to hunt one down eventually. My plan to find the right companion plocka-pal to let me tag along.
But, meanwhile I still wander the woods taking photos and looking up each one in my mushroom book, trying to solve the mystery of which ones are edible.
This pretty little troll hat is called Amanita Muscaria, or more commonly the Fly Agaric. Containing an ingredient in it’s make-up called Bufotenine, that has weak hallicenogenic properties.
So, probably not so great to try, but there are some brave chefs out there who know enough to cook it down and dehydrate it into a powdery substance.
Oh and did I mention the sever stomach cramping that usually follows? Would you take the chance?
Researching new mushrooms may be interesting, but I think it is the mystery of the woods and the stories she whispers to me, promising each new journey to be better than the last.
Until next time…..see you in the forest!