Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The treasures of the forest

When I was in Sweden, my sister (EH) and I went mushroom picking in the free-for-all Swedish forests.  You can walk anywhere you want, not a No Trespassing sign anywhere, which is one of the best things in Sweden.  So we walked, looked, stepped over rocks and moss humps, avoided some ant trails, and picked mushrooms.  It was a bit too dry for the chanterelles (kantareller), especially my favorite brown-yellow ones (trattkantarell), but we did find some. The yellow chanterelles turned up along the road, not the in the forest, which was unexpected.

wild chanterelles
Orange-footed chanterelles collected by me! These are among my favorites.

citrongul slemskivling
This one you can eat, but you have to peel off the slimy layer first.  In Swedish it is called "lemon-yellow slime mushroom", citrongul slemskivling.  Not an appetizing name, but it is good.

We also found lots of Boletus (Karl Johan), and saw many inedible and poisonous mushrooms that we left to the wild boars, who had tore up the ground in many places.  The boars where somewhere else, but their marks on the earth were very obvious.  The lingonberries were starting to ripe, but still a bit too tart for my taste. In total, we probably had 5 pounds of incredibly tasty mushrooms at the end of the day.  The chanterelles ended up in cream sauce served with Canadian bacon and potato gratin - yummy.

fly agaric (flugsvamp)
Do not eat this, or you might get very, very sick.  This is fly agaric, an Ammonita. I have read that the vikings used this as a drug to get high on, something I do not recommend.  A Swedish man just died after eating one of its relatives by mistake, the white agaric which can look a lot like a portobello if you are not careful.

fjällig taggsvamp
Inedible but funky mushrooms. In Swedish they are called 'fjällig taggsvamp'.

Later that day we went to Taxinge castle (Taxinge slott), also known as the Cookie Castle, because they have a fantastic cafe there with an amazing amount of homebaked cakes, cookies, and sandwiches. They also had a farmers market and gardening fair, selling everything from whimsical gardening art to lingonberries. Here are some photos from this place, and more photos from the Södertälje area in Sweden are here.

lingonberries for sale
Lingonberries (lingon) for sale, $2.50 per pound.

wild-collected chanterelle mushrooms
Yellow chanterelles for sale. You can tell that these have been around for a while and are not freshly picked.  The edges are dry and broken and the color is turning more brown.  A lot of mushrooms sold in Sweden are actually from Poland. I don't know about these, but it is better to pick your own if you can.

shrimp sandwich, so tasty!
Swedish shrimp sandwich on homemade bread.  Tiny sweet shrimps, mayo, hardboiled egg, lemon, and dill all has to be there for perfection.

bakery feast, all locally made
Some of the delicacies at the "Cookie Castle".  This place would make Sarah happy! :)


Sarah said...

You bet!

Mr. Lebo said...

That first handful looks like it is about 10 min. of simmering in butter away from being pure heaven.

Beautiful shot too.