Foraging Swedish Style
- Ask permission. In the UK, all land is owned by an individual or an organisation. Check who owns the land where you want to forage and ask permission before entering it and picking anything.
- Do not pick or consume anything you cannot identify without 100% certainty. Some mushrooms are poisonous and consuming these can be fatal or make you extremely ill.
- Do your research. There are plenty of books available to identify plants as well as websites to get you started. Try Wild Food UK (http://www.wildfooduk.com)
- Plan your route in advance. There’s no guarantee of mobile signal to access those map apps and it’s surprising how quickly night falls later in the year.
- Forget your sense of style, this is a time for wellies and rain jackets. Comfortable, waterproof shoes are also a must.
- Snack attack: Bring provisions to fuel walks like cereal bars, nuts and maybe a little chocolate to keep you going when you’ve had your fill of foraged berries!
- If you are a first time forager, it might be a good idea to sign up for a course in your local area. There are plenty of courses available for those interested in finding out more. See http://www.tastethewild.co.uk/ or http://foragewildfood.com/.
- For mushrooms, be sure to pick ones that are firm and not soggy or worm-ridden. Clean mushrooms straight away, cutting off any roots and brushing away grit, using a mushroom brush or knife. Don’t pick very small mushrooms, leave these to grow until fully grown for another picker or return later.
- A Basket is a foraging essential. Plastic bags tend to encourage moisture and warmth – a big no-no for mushrooms, which will go soggy. Use a roomy basket instead to give your loot ample space to breathe.
- Keep it to yourself! Swedes are notoriously secretive about their favourite mushroom spots, for fear of others coming to pick the spoils.