Foraging for Mushrooms with Mari. An introduction to ‘Everyman’s Rights’ and the art of finding wild mushrooms.
Guest: Mari Dawe, Mother Nature’s ambassador to Seinäjoki
Download an MP3 of Foraging for Mushrooms in Finland’s Forests
In the first episode of the show, Mari introduces me to the art of foraging for mushrooms. Before heading into the woods, we sat a short distance from the road and discussed that Mari has been doing this since she was a baby, because her Dad made a harness so he could carry her about while on student field trips. She explained that she is able to identify 15-20 species of mushroom, and relies on the knowledge she’s learned gleaned from previous generations of her family, rather than using a reference book. We made a very clear point:
Do not pick any mushrooms from the wild unless you are absolutely sure they are safe to eat!
Mari talked about the different types of mushrooms that can be found in the Finnish forests and what time of the year they can be found. We also discussed Everyman’s Rights to harvest from the forest, Mari explained what items can be taken and what can’t. It’s interesting to hear what rights the landowner has, how they cannot prevent you from collecting from their land – although you cannot help yourself to the vegetable patch in their garden! Everyman’s Right also apply to visitors to Finland, so long as you follow the rules.
Once we entered the woods, Mari explained that we were ideally looking for mossy terrain. It wasn’t long before we found a few hardy Chanterelle mushrooms which gave us hope that we’d get lucky, and as we walked along Mari occasionally stopped to point out other clues that indicated we were on the trail of our prey – Suppilovahvero / Funnel chanterelle mushrooms.
Mari suddenly squawked and I realised I was surrounded by them! She described how to recognise the Suppilovahvero, talked about the best way to pick them, and we then spent the next 30 minutes gathering as many as we could find, enlisting the help of Mari’s husband, mother-in-law, and two year old daughter!
We ended up with approx. 1KG of Suppilovahvero mushrooms and, back outside the woods again, Mari and I discussed what to do with our haul. She explained the merits of drying versus freezing and gave some tips for both methods. Mari then gave me a few of her most trusted recipes, those that she relies on to keep her vegetarian husband, Julian, happy 🙂
The next day, I decided to attempt my first-ever mushroom and leek quiche which was an unqualified success (although I have no photographic evidence, so you”ll have to take it on trust!)
Finnish words in the episode
Metsä – Woods, Forest
Jokamiehenoikeudet – Everyman’s Rights
Suppilovahvero – Funnel chanterelle, (Cantharellus tubaeformis)
Herkkutatti – Porcini, Cep mushroom (Boletus edulis)
Orakas – Sweet tooth, or Wood hedgehog mushroom (Hydnum repandum)
Lampaankaaääpä – Forest Lamb (Albatrellus ovinus)
Everyman’s Rights (English) http://www.ym.fi/en-US/Latest_news/Publications/Brochures/Everymans_right(4484)
Upon reflection, I thought Mari and I did a terrible job talking about the anatomy of a mushroom, so I decided to rectify that;