Mushroom picking in Poland

Poland is a fascinating country with plenty of opportunities and exciting things to do. There is a special activity for every time of year. In the winter you can go skiing or hiking in the snowy mountains. In the summer you can visit the beach to go swimming or snubatthing. And in the autumn there is mushroom picking, which many people consider one of the most fascinating Polish activities in the whole year. Between late September and early October, crowds of Polish people rush to the local forests to search for mushrooms. The joy of searching through the forests and the satisfaction of finding impressive specimens of of these treasures of nature is a delightful feeling that can be difficult to describe with words. Mushroom picking is an activity that can easily be enjoyed by practically everyone, even by beginners. Many families have their own traditions associated with mushroom picking and recipes for yummy dishes with these forest delicacies.
Mushroom soup, bigos, pierogi with cabbbage and mushrooms, borsch with ravioli – the names of those dishes alone are enough to whet anyone’s appetites.

Below you will find information about the most popular and valuable types of mushrooms to find in Poland:

Kurki (chanterelles) – these characteristic mushrooms are yellow with curly tops. They are an excellent ingredient for many dishes, especially pasta and scrambled eggs.

Podgrzybki – (boletes) – this might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of edible mushrooms. They usually have dark brown tops with lighter brown stems.

Boletus edulis (also known as prawdziwek) – probably the most wanted and valuable type of mushrooms. It has a white stem and light brown top. It is a popular ingredient in many kitchens and can be found in many apetizing dishes, such as bigos, mushroom soup, and pierogi with mushrooms and cabbage.

Truffles – this underground type of mushroom is black and doesn’t have a top like other types. It is one of the most valuable types of mushrooms. You’ll have to know the right places and have a really keen eye to spot them, but if you do find them, it will surely be worth all the effort.

However, you must keep in mind that not all types of mushrooms are edible. For example, the toadstool – a mushroom with a white stem and bright red top is strongly poisonous and you should stay as far away from it as possible. One little bite of this toxic mushroom is enough to make you terminally ill.

Some of the best places to search for mushrooms in Poland include:

  • The Tuchola Forest – For centuries, this area has been famous for its abundance of mushrooms. It has been visited by people not only from Poland, but also other countries, especially Germany.
  • The forests of Lower Silesia – this is one of the largest forest complexes in Europe, located in western Poland. Many people consider it the „Mushroom granary of Europe”, because in its mixed forests you can find the most valuable types of mushrooms.
  • The Notec Forest – located between the rivers of Warta and Notec. It is covered mostly with pine forests, which are full of mushrooms. During the full season, you are guaranteed to find at least a few specimens of mushrooms.

Here are some essntial tips for anyone who’s only getting familiar with mushroom picking:

  • if you’re going mushroom picking for the first time, be sure to take someone experienced with you, so they can advise you on what types of mushrooms to pick and the best places to find them.
  • Prepare yourself for any weather. In the autumn, the weather is can be chilly and humid, so be sure to take a warm and waterproof jacket with you.
  • try to get up as early as possible, even before dawn! The earlier you begin your search, the more mushrooms you’ll be able to find.
  • for gathering mushrooms take a wicker basket rather than a plastic bag so that your mushrooms don’t spoil too quickly.

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