Foraging in the wild
I think I should start this post with a disclaimer, as finding mushrooms on your own, without the help of an expert might not necessarily be a good idea. Unless you know what you’re doing. And I sure don’t so don’t think – after reading this post – that you have seen something similar as you might turn out to be horribly wrong!
When Esmee asked me to join in for a one day workshop with Edwin Flores who is the most famous mushroom guy here in the Netherlands I did not hesitate. Not because I will now go off and get my food from the wild but because I do think it is extremely interesting to find out that there is so much one can eat that grows in your own garden or in the patch near the highway or anywhere really.
When you think about edible goodies you can eat in the wild, the first thing that springs to mind is fruits. Or at least that’s how it works for me. Blackberries, blueberries, forest strawberries, chestnuts and acorns to name just a few.When I was little I had a friend who’s parents had a farm and there would always be loads of wild fruits growing somewhere on the edges of their land. We would risk cuts and scratches to get to those delicious blackberries before the birds had gotten all of them. But mushrooms where the one thing I never touched. You could find mushrooms everywhere at that time and I could be wrong but it looks to me like there are less and less when you walk through the forest.
Edwin walked us through the forest pointed out which of the mushrooms you could safely pick and eat. He did not go into the details on any of the ones that could easily be mistaken for a very poisonous variety but instead he went for the safer options. And even then I am pretty sure I will not be going out and picking my own bunch of mushrooms! I’m just scared I would be the lucky one picking a deadly mushroom instead… Having said that I am pretty sure there are a couple of very easily identifyable ones such as the steakmushroom that just looks like a giant bloody steak… including the dripping ‘blood’. Not exactly appetizing now is it?
The second part of the workshop was all about regular weeds that are in fact good items to ad to a salad (like little edible flowers) or greens that you can eat, roots that would be great foods… If you really go into it, there is a lot you can eat that grows just under your own nose, maybe even in your own garden.
All in all it was a fun day and I did learn a lot even though I will probably not be brave enoough to actually try it out for real…. Maybe on the weeds I will make an exception.. 😉