Russians have been perfecting the art of mushroom hunting for centuries. Much like apple picking in August, mushroom hunting in September is so ingrained in the Russian culture that is has pretty much become a national sport.
Many of us can recall the beautiful memories of our childhood mushroom foraging experiences. It’s the perfect weekend family activity that may even yield a few hidden treasures.
But before you head out to the local forrest, do you know which mushrooms are edible and where to find them?
Mushrooms come in all shapes and sizes. There are dozens of species, some of which are rare and exotic. Some varieties grow on the ground while others find their homes on decaying logs and tree trunks. We’ve put together a small list of the most popular mushroom varieties and how to best enjoy them.
Chanterelle mushrooms are the most recognized species and in Russia are often referred to as lisichki (little foxes). Orange or slightly yellow color, these nutritious mushrooms are prized for their culinary uses. They can be sautéed, fried and pickled.
Porcini mushrooms, also known as bely grab (white mushrooms), can be found in forrest with a high concentration of pine and spruce trees.
True to its name, these white mushrooms are commonly found in colder European and Eastern European climates. Popular in Russian, Polish, Ukrainian and other regional cuisines, these beauties can be canned, dried or used fresh in salads.
Another commonly eaten mushroom in Russia are veneshka or Oyster mushrooms. Characterized by their pale color, these little guys are known to grow on sides of tree trunks. They taste best when sautéed in butter with a bit of garlic.
When it comes to keeping your family safe and satiated, it’s important to remember a few mushroom harvest DOs and DON’Ts.