We are among the newcomers to “mushroom picking” and so it was a happy coincidence for us that we were able to go out for two hours with a mushroom consultant in the woods near Ferienpark Mirow.
My mushroom picking result in the Mecklenburg Lake District was not so successful, but I learned a lot.
Mushroom picking – tips for beginners
If you want to collect mushrooms, you don’t need a lot of equipment. However, a few things should be taken into account:
- Mushrooms are not collected in a plastic bag. They have to be stored and transported in an airy place, and a basket is best suited for this. We had a cloth bag with us, but we were advised not to use it, as mushrooms transported in it often arrive at home crushed or mushy.
- Even if you think you are very experienced, you should always have a good mushroom book with you. Even the expert had to look up a mushroom during our collecting trip when he couldn’t identify it 100 per cent. We downloaded a mushroom app onto our mobile phones beforehand. It didn’t really work, but that was due to the very weak telephone and Wi-Fi network in the Mecklenburg Lake District.
- If you discover a mushroom that you cannot identify exactly, you should only harvest a few specimens. If you remember the spot, you can return later if necessary. It is best to take the mushrooms to a mushroom consultation and have them identified. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, there are several volunteer mushroom advisors who are happy to help with identification.
- You can harvest mushrooms in different ways – with a knife or by hand. In both cases, it is important to harvest the entire style. With some mushrooms, the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous only becomes apparent underground.
The mushroom advisor we were travelling with preferred harvesting by hand. You grab the lower edge of the stem as far as possible and carefully twist the mushroom out of the ground.
If you harvest the mushrooms with a knife, you take away the moss around the base of the mushroom, stab under the mushroom style as deep as possible in the soil and prise the mushroom out. Don’t worry, the mycelium (the actual mushroom) is 5-20 centimetres below the surface of the soil and is well protected.
Mushroom picking in the Müritz National Park
You are allowed to pick mushrooms in the Müritz National Park. However, you should urgently observe the following rules. Warnings and fines are levied for violations.
- It is only permitted to collect mushrooms for personal use in the development zones of the national park. Personal consumption corresponds to about 2 kilograms of mushrooms, but is not defined more precisely in terms of quantity.
- Mushroom picking is prohibited in the core zone! The core zone is highlighted in red on the information boards and signposted in the terrain.
- In the core zone you are not allowed to leave the signposted paths.
Mushrooms grow almost everywhere in the Mecklenburg Lake District. The most difficult thing is to discover the right spots. Mushroom pickers are often reluctant to reveal where they found them. Especially for us as newcomers, mushroom picking would tend to end in an aimless search. So it was a real advantage for us to be able to travel with a mushroom expert. He was able to give us valuable tips that can make a search much easier.
For us as beginners, a good tip was to collect in the coniferous forest first. Although there are fewer species of mushrooms there, the risk of confusion is also lower. We recommend looking for mushrooms in newer spruce and pine plantations – but many mushrooms also grow in young oak and larch stands. In autumn, it is worth looking especially in forests with thick raw humus.
When is the best time to pick mushrooms?
People who want to collect mushrooms usually go in search of them in autumn. When the weather is damp and cold, the mushrooms sprout especially from the ground.
If you look a little closer, you can find edible mushrooms in every season. The oyster mushroom, for example, grows on deciduous trees from January to March, May is boletus season, and chanterelles can be collected in June.
August to October is the peak season for mushroom pickers. The chestnut, for example, is one of the autumn mushrooms that can be found when picking mushrooms in the Mecklenburg Lake District.
What to do in case of mushroom poisoning?
- At the slightest suspicion of mushroom poisoning, inform a doctor immediately.
- Secure cleaning and food residues and vomit if necessary.
- Only induce vomiting if the mushroom meal was eaten less than 4 hours ago, ask the doctor to be on the safe side.
- Poison control centres have lists of mushroom advisors who can identify the mushroom if necessary. If the mushroom is known, the poison control centre will provide information on the countermeasures to be taken.
We did walk back after 2 hours of mushroom picking in the Mecklenburg Lake District with only one edible mushroom. But our mushroom expert’s basket was well filled. I think we were still missing the right “mushroom sight”. But that doesn’t matter. I learned a lot and I am sure that we will go “mushrooming” again. We will certainly have our find appraised afterwards and then hopefully be able to take home many mushrooms for a mushroom pan.