Hey ho, hey ho, a-mushrooming we go… Autumn in the northern hemisphere comes Sept. 22. The weather is cooling and the intermittent rain has caused the annual mushroom explosion.
In Latvia, every man and his dog—as well as women and children—seem to be out in the woods on the weekend, excitedly filling their baskets and buckets to the brim with these delicacies from Mother Nature. Everyone seems to have their own secret picking spot, news of which they refuse to share with anyone.
In Latvia, markets and roadsides are full of avid mushroom pickers, keen to earn some money for their efforts. For some elderly folk, this is their seasonal income-earner, a supplement to their meagre pension.
Do you want to go mushrooming in Latvia but have no idea what to look for? Would you love to go for a foray in the woods but are still hesitant, knowing that your knowledge in this area is limited? The Internet can come to the rescue, so you don’t accidentally poison yourself and your loved ones after a fun day of mushroom picking.
For those keen on mycology and the more botanical explanations regarding these wonders of nature that are so abundant in fall, then Latvijas sēnes, part of the Latvijas daba Web site, is a good place to start. Here you can also study photographs of the edible mushrooms and also those you should definitely avoid. Another pictorial catalog of only the poisonous varieties of mushroom is available from Latvijas indigie augi un sēnes, a site hosted by the Latvian Education Informatization System.
Cooking with mushrooms
So now you’ve been to the forest, had a great day hunting, found the right varieties (and double-checked with a friend in the know) and you’re keen to prepare a feast to remember. Where to now? Turn to the section on mushroom dishes on Receptes.lv for a range of recipes from simple (mushrooms, butter, cream, salt, pepper) to more upmarket ones that involve more effort. The Web site Cāļa virtuve has recipes for various mushroom soups.
What if you’ve had such a great day mushrooming that you don’t know what to do with your “harvest”? Why not marinate them? Marinade recipes can be be found on Delfi and on Receptes.lv. Cāļa virtuve has one especially for sviesta bekas.
In the forums
Over the years Latvians Online forum readers have touched on the topic of mushrooms. To search for mushrooms in the forums, go into the Latvian Culture and Cooking Forum and type “mushrooms” into the search function. You will find quite a few discussions on this topic.
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