Wild mushroom season is here! We are super excited, since addition to wild berries and herbs, wild mushrooms are an essential part of METTÄ. Finnish wild mushrooms are pure and healthy food. The more we eat and learn to appreciate the wild mushrooms, the more value we are able to create for our forests and thus protect them.
Below we have gathered mushroom info from Arctic Flavours Association's website. The Arctic Flavours Association is a nation-wide association for Non-Wood Forest Products specialising in wild berries, mushrooms, herbs and special forest products.
Wild Mushrooms in Finland
Hundreds of mushroom species growing in the wild in Finland are suitable for consumption. The total annual yield of edible mushrooms is estimated at 1,000 million kg, which amounts to an average of 50 kg/ha.
Boletes (tatit), milk-caps (rouskut), golden chanterelles (kantarellit), trumpet chanterelles (suppilovahverot), hedgehog fungus (orakkaat), and sheep polypore (lampaankäävät) are especially typical fare for an autumn meal. Other types of mushrooms suitable for consumption include the gypsy mushroom (kehnäsieni), horn of plenty (mustatorvisieni), arched woodwax (mustavahakas), and some species of Russula (haperot).
Finnish nature is also home to lethally poisonous species of mushrooms. Novice mushroom pickers are especially advised to avoid white mushrooms and species growing from tree stumps.
Foraging Finnish Mushrooms
When gathering mushrooms for the first time, it is a good idea to accompany an experienced mushroom hunter. Remember this basic rule: gather only those mushrooms you can identify as edible species without a doubt. Taking a mushroom identification course is an excellent way for mushroom hunters to enhance their confidence in this area.
Check Helsinki Wildfoods mushroom course schedule here.
Finnish wild mushrooms are pure and healthy food
Fresh mushrooms are a light food consisting mostly of water (85–90%), and have an average energy content of only 25 kcal/100 g. Their fat content is only about 0.5 g/100 g. One hundred grams of mushroom contain about two grams of protein, and some species of mushroom have a higher protein content and a richer variety of amino acids than many vegetables. Aside from glucose, mushrooms contain trehalose (mushroom sugar), which can sometimes cause symptoms similar to lactose intolerance if not absorbed by the digestive system.
Mushrooms are a good source of fibre and contain 1.5–6 grams of insoluble fibre per one hundred grams. They supply moderate amounts of vitamins A, B, and D. An important nutritional property of mushrooms is their high content of minerals and trace elements, higher than that of grains or garden plants. In the wild, mushrooms are good at extracting nutrients from the growth medium. They are especially rich in potassium, iron, zinc, and selenium. They contain only small amounts of sodium, so they are suitable also for people who have to watch their blood pressure.
In our products we use three mushrooms: porcinis, trumpet chaterelles and chanterelle (golden chantarelle). All the mushrooms we use come from Finland. Our supplier produces mushrooms from the cleanest nature that are growing wild in our Nordic forests. They are carefully hand picked and immediately dried to safeguard their delicate flavour and high nutrient content.
King of wild mushrooms, tatti or herkkutatti in Finnish, has many English names: boletus, penny bun, cep, porcino or porcini... As beloved royals usually do.
Porcinis grow wild in Finnish forests and are super tasty due to our extreme change in seasons in terms of temperature and light. It grows widely in the Northern Hemisphere across Europe, Asia, and North America, and it does not occur naturally in the Southern Hemisphere. Ours come hand picked from clean Northern Finland.
Porcini is a popular gourmet mushroom that has a strong nutty flavour. It goes very well with pastas, risottos, in pizza and stews. Porcini is a delicious pair with herbs and works a gourmet seasoning to almost any dish. Try our Porcini Salt with butter for example.
The name porcini means "piglets" in Italian. The Latin name is Boletus edulis.
The Cep is a large, sturdy, rather hard mushroom. Its cap is of varying shades of brown and the cap cuticle is slightly viscid when moist. The spore tubes are tightly packed and light grey in young specimens, later changing to a yellowish green. The flesh of the mushroom is firm and retains a white colour. The stem of the Cep is off-white to light brown. The stem is often covered by a white mesh-like pattern, most clearly visible on the uppermost portion just below the cap. The stem may be relatively straight or somewhat round and barrel-shaped. It is always stout and rigid if the mushroom is fresh, however.
The Cep (Boletus edulis) grows in coniferous forests, especially in mesic heath forests near spruce trees. The Bine Bolete (B. pinophilus) is found near pine trees and therefore on more arid ground than the cep. The Summer Bolete (B. reticulatus) grows near oak roots in herb-rich forests. Ceps are found in most of Finland, especially the southern and central parts of the country. The eastern portion of central Finland is especially hospitable to Ceps.
The season lasts from the middle of summer until the end of September.
The Cep contains plenty of fibre. It is especially rich in vitamins B2, B3 and D as well as folate, and also contains potassium, zinc and selenium.
Big amounts of Ceps are exported to Italy and other Central and Southern European countries. Finns are enthusiastic cep hunters. The cep is cooked as is, or sliced and dried to be used as an ingredient in a delicious mushroom soup or stew.
Chanterelle or Golden Chantarelle
The Chanterelle is one of Finland’s most easily identified and highly valued mushrooms. The entire mushroom, including the flesh, is a pleasant yellow colour. The cap is funnel-shaped and can be very convoluted around the edge. The undersurface of the cap features gill-like decurrent ridges. The mushroom can also be recognized by a characteristic fruity scent that becomes stronger as it is prepared for consumption.
The False Chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) resembles the true Chanterelle on top, but has tightly packed gills on the undersurface.
Chanterelles are common in the southern and central parts of Finland. They can be found as far north as Lapland. Chanterelles grow at the roots of birch trees. They occur in diverse landscapes and forest types, but not in overly thick or dark forests. Some favourable environments for Chanterelles include lakeshores and mixed or deciduous forests on islands. Since the mushroom tends to grow in the same place for several years, it is worthwhile to check on good Chanterelle spots annually.
Chanterelle season is long, from late June to the end of September in Finland, so the same spot can be checked several times in the course of a summer.
Chanterelles contain ample vitamin D and are a good source of potassium, iron, and selenium. Unprocessed Chanterelles contain only small amounts of fat consisting mostly of linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid.
Chanterelles are at their best immediately after they are gathered. They are suitable for a wide variety of preparation methods and do not require preliminary processing. They can be dried, frozen, or preserved in brine. They also keep well in a refrigerator, staying relatively fresh up to several days.
As its name suggests, the Trumpet Chanterelle is shaped like a funnel or horn. It is a rather small mushroom. Its cap is brown with a yellowish or grey hue. Its stem is hollow, rather slim, and has a yellow colour. It has long, gill-like, decurrent ridges of a yellowish grey on the undersurface of the cap.
The “Wetland Chanterelle” (C. aureum) closely resembles the Trumpet Chanterelle, but the ridges on the undersurface of its cap are not as pronounced. C. aureum is found in more thickly vegetated and moist environments than the Trumpet Chanterelle. It, too, is an excellent mushroom for consumption.
Trumpet Chanterelles are common in southern and central Finland. They occur in mossy woods, often in spruce stands but also in mixed forests. They usually grow in large groups in the same places year after year. Initially it may be difficult for mushroom hunters to find them because they are covered in deep moss. In good years for Trumpet Chanterelles, they are clearly more abundant than their close cousin, the Golden Chanterelle.
Trumpet Chanterelles grow rather late in the autumn, from September to November.
Their thin flesh makes Trumpet Chanterelles suitable for drying or freezing. Drying is easy to do at home. The nutritional value of the mushrooms is well-preserved by freezing, but the taste may be watered down. They can also be fried as they are, of course, as well as frozen or pickled. Trumpet Chanterelles are rich in vitamin D. Eating them in the winter is a natural way to increase one’s vitamin D intake.
Texts are from https://www.arktisetaromit.fi/en/mushrooms/wild+mushrooms/, from which you can find more info in English.
Pictures: Aino Huotari & Annika Hannus