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Looking for wild things in the wild

Before I fly home, I definitely had to make some mushroom picking trips.

It’s something I miss a lot in Canada and which is plenty in Latvia.

It’s a land which has maintained its ecological integrity. Forests are quite wild and frequently not that much walked or travelled, although, large number of people would enjoy them, pick wild berries and mushrooms there. These natural forests are extra clean compared to highly developed countries.

It might sound like a walk in the park, but it actually isn’t. It’s not that easy to get over the fallen tree trunks and branches, bushes, thick young firs, aspens, birches and bushes. There is no path usually and one goes led by intuition or guess since wild mushrooms do not grow everywhere, but they are friendly neighbors of some particular tree and moss combination, as well as they like some grasses and dislike or never grow near others. King boletes love outskirts of the forest and can be also found near old roads. The orange-capped boletes grow rather in long grasses, but every forest is different and one has to figure out where they might be hiding.

It is a sporting activity that carries a lot of excitement, hence, finding a bunch of king boletes makes one happy and also proud.

The rainfalls and pretty warm weather this September definitely helped mushrooms grow fast and almost in every forest.

I regret I do not know such places in Ontario, but one should most likely drive for many hours in order to find a clean place where wild mushrooms love growing. It was just slightly out-of-town in Latvia, but we made lots of stops. Every ditch that separates road from the forest was full of water, and getting in the forest was a challenge.

I personally enjoy to a huge extent picking mushrooms, I like eating them, as well, but still: nothing compares to overcoming all obstacles and getting a full basket of nice and valuable mushrooms. King boletes belong to the most nutritious wild mushrooms and they are pride of everybody who takes a walk in the forest. It is believed they help conquering even cancer, not to mention that their protein content can exceed the amount of proteins in meat. Dried king boletes contain more protein than meat.

It is a wonderful food and can be prepared in very many ways: Latvians make mushroom sauces, soups of mushrooms; we dehydrate and dry them and use afterwards either as powder or spice; dried mushrooms can be added to broth, soup and any other dish. We pickle them and prepare delicious salads. Wild mushrooms can be prepared with salt for winter and then eaten any way one likes. They go into pies, and it is not only a snack, but a very delicious main course on many Latvian dinner tables.

Enjoy the pictures! Well, some picture-taking was very tricky since I had the basket on one arm, it was heavy, not less than 4 kg, I balanced myself on some small dry patch and here and there it was almost impossible to place the phone so that it would take a picture.

Golden chanterelle

The poisonous beauties: fly agarics or fly amanitas

The bright red poisonous mushrooms frequently signal that king boletes are not far

Small king bolete getting out of moss after rain

To get the close-up, I pushed moss down, a bit  larger king bolete

Orange cap aspen boletes, so lovely!

This family of orange cap aspen boletes was hiding in long grasses

Full basket of orange cap and king boletes

Absolutely delicious and extraordinary beautiful

They were so firm and so fresh

I took like 100 pictures, I couldn’t resist because I rarely have such an opportunity

I will catch up with my blog friends once I am back home. My trip will take some time and, unfortunately, there is large time zone difference, and that will require adjustment from my side.

 

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26 Comments Post a comment
  1. I have never learned to pick mushrooms and to see the difference between the good and the poisoned once. I like to prepare and eat store bought mushrooms. You were lucky to find so many delicious, Inese 🙂

    Like

    September 18, 2017
    • Thanks, Irene! I was learning about mushrooms since the age of 3, that makes it I have been picking wild mushrooms for 56 years, well, with interruptions, because I don’t do that in Canada. Everybody or almost everybody who loves outdoors and forests knows what mushrooms are good and what are poisonous. Kids start really early, so, no problem with that. Dear Irene, there is absolutely no comparison in taste between the store bought and the wild ones. We made the other day a soup from king boletes and that was sooooo delicious that I don’t know how to describe that.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 18, 2017
      • I believe you, that the wild once are much more tasteful Inese. I just have so much respect to pick the wrong once, that I don’t try at all. It was also more easy to pick, while I lived in Denmark. Here in Spain it is too dry for them to live, at least where I live.

        Like

        September 18, 2017
      • Spain might be too dry and too hot. We had a lot of rain recently, so, mushrooms grew like crazy. I am afraid to pick anything in Ontario, too, because who knows? I know Latvian mushrooms since childhood, therefore, no need to be afraid, and we never take a mushroom when it looks strange or doubtful. Ok, returning, to packing. It’s getting late here.

        Liked by 1 person

        September 18, 2017
  2. A lovely basket full of boletes!!! Yummm!

    Like

    September 18, 2017
    • Thanks, Ilze! I was so happy, and they were very delicious! We made soup, sauce and sister put some to get quickly pickled boletes. That was great time and great food! Delicatesse! I am packing suitcase and bags, so quite busy.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 18, 2017
      • Wishing you safe trip home, Inese!

        Like

        September 18, 2017
      • Thanks so much! I’m impatiently waiting for the weather to improve: such a rainstorm, terrible. I believe it will be slightly better tomorrow. I am flying through Warsaw this time, and I know it’s nice and warm in Whitby, Ontario. Cannot wait to be there.

        Liked by 1 person

        September 18, 2017
      • The weather is terrible here! We were without electricity for half of the day. It means no heat, no water etc…

        Like

        September 18, 2017
      • Oh, no! So, we are lucky in Riga to have power and everything else.. What dinner would that be in the darkness, however, the wind is extremely strong here also.

        Liked by 1 person

        September 18, 2017
  3. Hi Inese! I’m so hungry now seeing these beauties. Part of my youth was spent picking mushrooms with my Oma und Opa in Austria. Such fond memories of inhaling the scent of pines and musty earth. Sounds and LOOKS like you had a great time there. Safe travels home!!

    Like

    September 18, 2017
    • I can only agree: picking mushrooms is such a special adventure! I loved it as a small kid and it’s still one of my most favorite things to do in the fall. I am happy to hear you somewhen experienced that! I wish the weather was better, but it probably will calm down until I have to fly.

      Like

      September 18, 2017
  4. It is what I miss the most, I guess.

    Like

    September 19, 2017
    • I can totally understand that. I am trying to make my trips usually when there is a chance of mushroom picking. Were they ever delicious! Just memories now!

      Liked by 1 person

      September 20, 2017
      • Foraging makes you feel one with the nature. My grandma taught me to leave the first good mushroom and to drop the first biggest and sweetest berry for the forest 🙂 I always do that since.

        Like

        September 24, 2017
      • I do not really follow any rules. I get to pick mushrooms at the best once in a year, and sometimes it can be once in 5 years. I am trying to photograph some standing on one leg or balancing myself between ditches or fallen branches, LOL. It’s been my passion since I was just 3 years old, we had forest in 5 minute walking distance. So, I’ve been doing this for 56 years. People ask: how do you know which mushrooms are good? I do that easy. All mushrooms have specific features, whether that is color, shape, pattern on stem or cap, smell and in some cases one can even try tiny bit because king boletes are sweet and taste slightly like nuts when uncooked, but the bitter relative (which still has very much darker stem) is just abnormally bitter. so on. Golden chanterelle has a relative that is not edible and this is recognized by pattern under the cap. I love taste of wild berries, but I do not love too much sitting in one place and slowly picking them. Wild mushrooms is like discovery every time when one uses their skill to detect what places in that forest would have mushrooms, and then one needs to be really attentive and careful to find where they are hiding. It’s a pleasure!

        Liked by 1 person

        September 24, 2017
      • Agree with you. It is like a treasure hunting 🙂 Enjoyed your comment – I don’t have anyone to talk about mushrooms with 😉

        Like

        September 24, 2017
      • Well, yes, less and less people know or pick them, and there are less and less places on the Earth that are clean enough for mushrooms to grow. I mean, good and edible mushrooms. That might be the reason I’m not a fan of grocery store mushrooms. It feels to me they have no taste after the wild ones.

        Liked by 1 person

        September 24, 2017
      • Definitely no flavor at all.

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        September 24, 2017
      • So, that’s why people do this like crazy: get wet under rain, freeze in early morning, get wet feet and sometimes get lost, walk for up to 10 km and even more: to only find these wonderfully tasting wild mushrooms. My most favorite part is actually the process of picking. For me nothing compares to that.

        Liked by 1 person

        September 24, 2017
      • Exactly 🙂 I would give them away after I bring them home. The magic is in the hunting itself.

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        September 26, 2017
      • That is true with me, as well, however, I do not mind eating wild mushrooms. We pickle them, make a soup (so yummy with king boletes), make a sauce, make salad, I love all ways of preparation.

        Liked by 1 person

        September 26, 2017
      • I too love them. Sometimes I find a mushroom or two in the mountains 🙂

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        September 30, 2017
      • Which is nice!

        Liked by 1 person

        September 30, 2017
  5. Great treasures you found and I love all the pictures.

    Like

    September 21, 2017

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