Mushroom picking is a popular hobby all over the world. In the Czech Republic, it is a very popular activity and families will often go mushroom picking with young children. I grew up identifying and picking mushrooms from a very young age. It is a hobby that I still enjoy today!
Connecting with the Natural World
I spend most of my waking time staring at screens. I work from home and get paid to stare at a screen, this blog requires me to further my screen time and then when I’m finally done being productive, I watch TV to relax. So I’m not here to judge you for being disconnected from the natural world. Going mushroom hunting is one of the ways for me to reconnect with nature.
Looking for wild mushrooms adds a sense of fun and adventure to a regular hike. It feels great to be able to walk around nature and be able to recognize what is edible and what isn’t. Picking your own food creates a special relationship between you and the Earth. There is a reason why people are so into the Paleo diet and returning to ones roots.
The Health Benefits of Mushrooms
Mushrooms are known for being healthy. They are a great source of protein and contain various vitamins. Different types of mushrooms have different health properties and there are studies that indicate that they could help battle diseases such as cancer.
“All types of edible mushrooms contain varying degrees of protein and fibre. They also contain B vitamins as well as a powerful antioxidant called selenium, which helps to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues.”BBC Good Food
According to MNN, mushrooms have the following health benefits. You can read the full article here:
- They have cancer-fighting properties.
- Mushrooms are immunity-boosters.
- They help lower cholesterol.
- They’re high in B and D vitamins.
- Mushrooms have anti-inflammatory powers.
- “Magic” mushrooms (psilocybin) may help cancer patients.
- They could help fight aging.
The full article is pretty fascinating and backed by scientific studies. They forget to mention one important factor, though: mushrooms are delicious! Unfortunately, store-bought mushrooms aren’t nearly as good as the ones picked in the wild. If you’re not comfortable picking them yourself, you can try them at farmers markets. Although the price can be quite steep!
You can also buy mushroom growing kits that make it safe to grow and eat mushrooms that you can’t purchase in stores as easily. It is possible to find dried wild picked mushrooms from various stores including Walmart. Again, dried mushrooms can’t compare to freshly-picked ones, but they still contain the health properties.
How to Learn to Pick Wild Mushrooms
There are many great resourced that will teach you how to pick mushrooms. There are online classes, YouTube videos, books and Facebook groups. I always recommend that beginners don’t go out alone without an expert guide. You can search for a local mycological society that may host educational events and group trips to the forest.
If you’re itching to get started on your own, check out my favorite YouTube channel about mushroom picking. You may want to take notes cause this guy will give you a LOT of information!
Here’s a great video to start with! Don’t forget that you’ll need to learn to ID some trees to be a successful and safe mushroom hunter.
Read more about mushrooms on The Travel Bug Bite!