Know what you are foraging
Trekking the forest is one of my hobbies all throughout the year. In Finland, it is safe to roam around the forest as there are no known deadly snakes or wild animals to chase you. On top of it, the forest has many treasures to offer, different for each season. This time of the year, we are in the beginning of winter and still the forest is still open to be explored. There is still no snow in the southern part of Finland, so roaming in the forest is still a good exercise.
In the late autumn to beginning of winter, you can forage for mushroom, especially winter chanterelles, the last kind of mushroom that grows before the snowy time.
Winter Chanterelle or “suppilovahvero” in Finnish with a scientific name “Craterellus tubaeformis”
Winter chanterelles, also known as yellowfoot or winter mushroom, are a type of wild mushroom that can be found in Finland during the winter months. They are highly sought after for their delicate flavor and are considered a delicacy in Finnish cuisine.
When to Find Winter Chanterelles:
Unlike their summer counterparts, winter chanterelles thrive in colder temperatures. They typically start appearing in late autumn and continue to grow throughout the winter season. The best time to find them is after a frost or when the ground is covered in snow.
Where to Find Winter Chanterelles:
Winter chanterelles are commonly found in coniferous forests in Finland. Look for them near spruce, pine, and fir trees, as they have a symbiotic relationship with these types of trees. They are known to grow in mossy areas and prefer damp, shady spots. Keep in mind that winter chanterelles can sometimes be well-hidden, so a keen eye and patience are key.
When hunting for winter chanterelles, it’s important to be observant and take a systematic approach. Here are a few tips to help you in your search:
Before you Go Foraging:
- Dress appropriately: Make sure you wear warm clothing and waterproof footwear, as winter foraging can be chilly and snowy.
- Start with the right tools: Carry a knife, a basket or bag for collecting the mushrooms, and a brush to clean off any debris.
- Look for signs: Winter chanterelles have a distinct appearance. They have a yellow-orange cap, a hollow stem, and gill-like ridges on the underside. Scan the forest floor for these telltale signs.
- Pay attention to the habitat: Focus your search in areas with coniferous trees and mossy patches. Check the base of trees and areas with decaying organic matter.
- Be gentle: When harvesting winter chanterelles, carefully cut the stem near the base of the mushroom to ensure regrowth for future seasons. Avoid picking immature or small mushrooms to allow them to mature fully.
Remember, always consult a reliable field guide or seek guidance from experienced foragers before consuming any wild mushrooms. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt and the delicious reward of finding winter chanterelles in the Finnish wilderness!