Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Foraging like a real Swede!

Before I ever moved to Sweden, I knew one thing...the Swedes like to forage for food.  When I had settled into our new apartment and recovered from moving country, I began to seek out foraging trips.  Alas, I was a bit late and also, everything was in Swedish, so I gave up and bought them at the supermarket instead.  I'm definitely not the most experienced with cooking mushrooms, so my efforts were somewhat, eh, slimy.  I didn't try again.

This year, things are different.  I have befriended a colleague of my Mountain Man; Patrik who loves food as much as I do, if that's possible.  He knows where to shop, what to try, which pickled herring goes with what and he has promised to be my 'tasting-buddy' for some fermented herring, or surströmming.  I've been told that this stuff smells like dead people and is utterly revolting, but others claim to love it.  Patrik also loves to forage, particularly for mushrooms.  When I discovered this a few weeks ago, I asked if he would bring me out foraging and he said yes!  Yippee!!

Last Saturday we ventured out to Söderåsens National Park and began our hunt.  To be fair to Patrik, he's
not from Skåne, so doesn't know the best spots for mushroom picking.  As we began our walk, we figured that those in the know had probably already taken the best of the mushrooms.  Patrik also reckoned that a beech forest such as is in Söderåsen may not be the best environment for many mushrooms, particularly chanterelles, which is really what he was after.

There were many unusual mushrooms either side of the path, but none looked that appetising.  One little white one, with a shiny translucent cap was calling to be picked, but I resisted as I had no idea what it was and didn't think it would be edible...

As we walked along a wooden boardwalk, a little purple mushroom caught my eye.  Patrik wasn't too interested, but I was so excited at the prospect of being able to eat a purple mushroom, he relented and consulted his mushroom book.  It told us that it was called 'Amethyst Deceiver', was safe to eat and had a mild taste.  Hooray, success!!  I was so chuffed with myself for finding something edible, I didn't mind if it tasted like cardboard!  We walked for about 14km, without finding any chanterelles, but I did find some more amethyst deceivers, which I added to the paper bag that Patrik had the foresight to bring.  We found some blackberries too, which we scoffed on the spot and were absolutely delicious.


On Sunday morning I decided to consult Google, to be sure that these weird little purple mushrooms were definitely edible.  Google said yes, so I prepared & cooked them up as Patrik had advised.  First off, use a soft brush to clean them, then heat them gently in a frying pan to get rid of any water they've soaked up.  Once that's done, add some butter and garlic, which the mushrooms will soak in delightedly.  While the mushrooms are cooking, toast some sourdough bread, rub with garlic and butter.  Once the mushrooms are soft and the butter has been soaked up season and serve over the sourdough toast.

I can't say that those little purple mushrooms were a culinary treat, but they tasted pretty good to me, probably due to the addition of all that butter and garlic!  What really felt good was picking my own food, in the great outdoors and cooking it up myself.

Of course I still had to try some chanterelles, so today, I picked up a carton of them in the local supermarket and treated them the same way.  On Saturday I used a toothbrush for cleaning, but it was a bit rough, so today I used my MAC eyeshadow brush (washed first of course!)  I know, sacrilege, but it was the softest brush I had and actually did a great job!  Besides, I hardly ever use it for makeup, so why not mushrooms?  I've just eaten them for my lunch and I can certainly say they taste better than the amethyst deceivers!  Really meaty, lovely woody rich flavour.  Next week we're hoping to get out again, to a different spot that might just reward us with some of our own fresh chanterelles.  Either way, I'm loving the adventure!  (Thanks to Patrik for some of the photos here, which you can click on to see in more detail if you like!)

1 comment:

  1. Yum, Yum, made a crumble with foraged blackberries and foraged apples yesterday. Love it! Oh and white spelt. Very healthy. Ruined it all then with about 6 bottles of wine!