My forage jaunts : looking for mushrooms …

Apart from looking for chestnuts with the hubby after we visited the chestnut festival at Fully in early October, I have been very slack in my favourite activity this spring and summer … that is, foraging for free food! I did not go to the nearby woods to pick any raspberries nor any blackberries unlike what I had done in the previous year with the hubby … nor did I check out any other edible stuff that I could get from there even though I had bought guidebooks on this.

I could blame it on the lousy weather that we have had for most of this year or to the fact that I had experimented growing a lot more plants (and many of them first timers) on my balcony potager, which thus took up most of my free time, especially when the day was nice and sunny. But in the end, of course, I have only myself to blame.

I could and should have made more efforts to go out and check out the woods nearby … even if I have to do so on my own. But I was always waiting and hoping to get someone to come with me on those jaunt.

But now that we are already in autumn … and, if we are as unlucky as we were last year, we could well end up with a very short autumn (last year, the first snowfall came in as early as the end of October) … I decided that I just had to go and do some foraging so that I would not finish 2013 without having indulged at least once or twice in this favourite activity of mine.

One of my fervent wishes in foraging was to look for mushrooms. I was told quite sometime ago by a former classmate that there were plenty of edible ones in the forest not far from where the hubby and I are staying. Unfortunately … this is not something that one can do alone, especially if one is as inexperienced as I am … and the hubby is pretty clueless about mushrooms himself!

I had hoped to be able to do so with the daddy-man this year, but from the look of it, I doubt that this will happen before the mushroom season ends this year. And it was also unfortunate that I had to miss a mushroom foraging excursion organised by one of the clubs in Lausanne as the date clashed with an excursion we had planned to do (but which in the end did not happen! argggh … :().

Anyway … after having bought a mini guidebook on mushrooms and even having borrowed several books on this topic from the municipal library, as well as I surfed the internet … I decided (and with the hubby’s encouragement) that I would go and check out the mushrooms.

Errr … I did not go and pick them lah (as I know that I was – and still am – not yet ready to do so) … but it was more of a ‘reconnoissance mission’: to know which species of mushrooms can be found in the nearby woods. In the process, I also got to know the woods a bit better … and found something that I had not expected to find there. Even the hubby who sometimes jogs in the woods did not know of my little find! 😀

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My maiden solo forage into the woods of Sauvabelin, two weeks ago. The day was a little chilly and the ground was a little muddy  … but at least it was not raining!

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Apparently, I was not alone in looking for mushrooms that afternoon … as I spotted this lady carrying a plastic bag as well as a big basket (which is what is recommended for mushroom gathering) traipsing through the woods and walking past me twice. I think she must not have been too pleased to see me in the area where she was doing her mushroom gathering! 🙂

There were plenty of mushrooms in the woods that afternoon … except that I was not sure whether they were edible. And it was not easy to recognise them correctly even with a guidebook in hand, as some mushrooms look pretty much alike. Below are just some of those that I had photographed to help me to verify with the books on mushrooms that I had borrowed.

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I saw plenty of the brown mushrooms on the left picture … but if that lady was not picking them, then I do not think that I should either! The one on the right has a funny shape and looked a little furry. From what I could gather from my guidebook it could be one of the puffball mushrooms variety.

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The white mushroom (above left) looked good enough to pick and eat  … but I did not dare to pick it either. And the red ones below, I believe are poisonous mushrooms. I saw quite a number of them that day.

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I was pretty sure that the yellowish mushroom on the left was a chanterelle. It was in a good condition, but I saw only one. The one on the right looked quite dainty and has a beautiful lilac colour.

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A lady came to ask me if the mushrooms on the top right were edible as I was taking photos of them. Unfortunately, she had asked the wrong person lah! The two bottom pictures are of the same mushroom which I think is another puffball mushroom. Funny how the two black dots and the slight bump in the centre made it look like one of those emoticons! 🙂

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Different species of mushrooms growing on and around a tree stump … but none of them edible, I think.

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From one side of the woods … I then headed to the other side … admiring the beautiful colours of the leaves on the trees as I did so.

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There were still some blackberries at Mont Sauvabelin … but their season is pretty much over. I came too late to try and gather them!

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And, it appeared that I was also late for these wild apples …

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… as well as these hazelnuts! Haizzz … I would have liked to pick them, but since these nuts were just next to a walking path where visitors to the area love taking their dogs for a walk, I did not think that it would be a good idea to pick the hazelnuts from there. What a pity that I had missed so many of these little goodies from the woods.

However, I did not exactly go home empty handed that afternoon lah!

While in the midst of getting acquainted with the mushrooms in the woods, I found out that the woods is also home to another treasure which I had not known before … and would not have known if I had not deviated from the usual walking path in search of mushrooms!

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These were what I found in the woods that afternoon … chestnuts!! Yeayy … 😀

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Unlike mushrooms, I do know my chestnuts very well … and as it happened that I had brought a paperbag as well as my garden glove with me … I, therefore, spent several minutes happily gathering chestnuts in the woods.

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And I came home that evening with almost a kilo of chestnuts in my paperbag … which would have cost me almost CHF 12.00 if I had bought them at the supermarket!

I just lurveeee free food … don’t you? 😀

Related entries on foraging in the woods:

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