Polish obsession with mushroom picking

by Ewelina Nurczyk in: Living in Poland, 21 Aug 2018     0 Comments

Every country has its quirks and little traditions – in Poland whenever autumn is coming, people get crazy about mushroom! Have you ever participated in this fascinating activity done by entire families?

When and where?

If this already sounds fun to you, beware! The mushroom season is just around the corner, as many amateurs of mushroom hunting have already started visiting their local forests. Officially it should all start around September and last up until the first signs of winter. During this period, Poles take to forests, because this is where they are the easiest to find. You will meet enthusiastic pickers especially after rainfall – this is when mushrooms get bigger. We even have a saying in Poland that something grows like mushrooms after rain!

Which mushrooms?

In Poland, there are over 50 edible mushroom species, but it is important to name some that are real crowd pleasers and therefore are always a big hit on a table. These would include the King Bolete, Sulphur Shelf, Saffron Milk Cup or parasol mushroom. It is very important to gather only those mushrooms that one is sure of their edibility – usually in many Polish families there is an expert who can easily name different species and indicate which mushrooms are better left out. Eating a toxic one may result in death or very serious internal injuries.

Mushroom picking etiquette

When going out for mushroom picking, it is advisable to follow some rules. Many amateurs of this pastime stress the fact that humans are intruders in forests and should leave without bringing any serious changes to the ecosystem. The suggested method of gathering mushrooms is cutting them close to the ground with a sharp knife. Another thing is covering the exposed mushroom spawn with forest cover, so as not to let it dry. Finally, even indebile and deadly fungi should be left alone, not destroyed, as they still may be useful to the forest and its inhabitants. If you head out for your first ever picking session, you will definitely learn more from your Polish expert!

And then what?

Once your mushrooms are picked, washed and cleaned, they can be pickled, dried or eaten immediately afterwards! Everyone knows that they are not too nutritious, but still they make for great pierogi stuffing, sauce ingredient and snack! 

Do you have your own way of preparing them? Have you tried mushrooming outside Poland?

See also

Polish cities & their foreign counterparts

Polish cities vs. foreign cities

Did you know that many Polish cities are referred to as Venice of the North or Eastern Paris? See which ones and find more!
Read more

Gun laws in Poland

Gun laws in Poland

Firearms not very common with Poles, but expats tend to ask questions about getting a gun in Poland.
Read more

Buying a car in Poland

Buying a car in Poland

Feeling like buying a car? Read foreigner's guide to purchasing one in Poland.
Read more

Author
Ewelina Nurczyk

Ewelina Nurczyk

Editor

Contact the author

Editor at CareersinPoland.com. A graduate of English studies and Polish language and literature at Warsaw University, specialising in teaching Polish to foreigners. 

Related articles

Wianki (Eng. ‘wreaths’) is an event that emerged on the ground of an old pagan tradition in Poland. What’s it all about? Read more

Mardi Gras, Pancake Tuesday, Fastelavn or Maslenica. Every culture has its own celebrations before the Lent begins. Read more

Here are 5 reasons why the Polish team may win the most prestigious sports event in the world! Read more

If you are invited to Andrzejki by one of your colleagues, read our introduction to this Slavic response to Halloween. Read more

Bring home a taste of Poland – read the list of ten Polish-themed gifts for Christmas! Read more