We are currently experiencing a genuine Indian summer! Fantastic weather, brilliant sunshine and many culinary highlights from the forest and garden. Our favourite time of the year – autumn – has already begun.
Every season has its advantages; autumn has especially many of them. Freshly harvested vegetables, regional potatoes, crunchy red apples from the garden and, of course, an abundance of chanterelles – preferably ones gathered with your own hands! We love spending late-summer days in the Alps and picking mushrooms in the forest as a pastime. No sooner said than done: we took a few baskets and set off towards the Alps to gather some mushrooms.
As summer gradually draws to a close, the forest begins sprouting with life, and many families make their way swiftly to the forest to get the best mushrooms – before other people get to them first! Mushroom hunting is a tradition, especially in Austria. In the past, we as children were even able to earn a bit of pocket money by working hard to gather a large amount of mushrooms. There are of course a few things to take note before you start plucking away. We will explain them to you to prime you for the mushroom season…
You should never ever confuse field mushrooms with the highly poisonous death cap mushrooms! It is best that you thoroughly acquaint yourself with the appearance and features of the different mushroom species. The chanterelle, the penny bun and the popular parasol mushroom are examples of safe, edible species. When in doubt, the rule of thumb is to leave the mushroom alone or ask experienced mushroom pickers and experts for help.
Naturally, you are not allowed to pick mushrooms in every area. Therefore, it is necessary to find out whether you are allowed to gather mushrooms in a particular area before starting to do so. As their name suggests, you are not allowed or, in some circumstances, only partially allowed to gather mushrooms in protected areas, including national parks and nature reserves. A word of caution: also avoid privately owned forests if you see a sign that forbids mushroom picking. In general, a person is allowed to gather up to two kilograms of mushrooms per day (for personal consumption).
Our final tip is very simple: cook and enjoy! You can use chanterelles and other mushrooms to create so many different dishes – one culinary highlight after another. In this regard, soups and pan-fried dishes are especially quick and easy to prepare. We have already discovered our two current favourites, including a classic mushroom soup (as you might already expect). We jazzed up our version by adding the crunchy LAND-LEBEN fried batter pearls and crispy baked strudel pastry sheets. Our other favourite is a creamy polenta topped with aromatic sautéed mushrooms and LAND-LEBEN herbed croutons. We can hardly wait to visit the Alps again!
The is only one thing left to say: enjoy your time in the Alps and good luck foraging for mushrooms!