Mushroom Picking in Poland

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People who know me know that I adore mushrooms. I could eat different varieties of mushrooms every day and never get bored of them. One might ask, what’s so special about mushrooms? At first sight, mushrooms are just simple veggies that grow in the forest.

Wild mushrooms actually cause a lot of controversies. In Poland, where I grew up, mushrooms are basic ingredients for many traditional dishes due to the popularity of mushrooming. Everyone goes mushroom picking at least once a year to collect, dry, and pickle those lovely fungi.

Me at the age of 11 after mushroom picking in the Polish forest

Me at the age of 11 after mushroom picking in the Polish forest

Foreigners are often scared of mushroom picking because they believe it’s easy to pick a poisonous one. Well, let me tell you how easily you can recognize if your mushroom can be eaten or not. Every mushroom has a part under the cup called the hymenophore that’s either a lamella (striped) or tubes (flat).

Mushrooms with tubes are edible and those with lamella can be… except that it would be your last time 😉 However, if your mushroom is red with white dots, there is no reason to check because it’s a fly agaric – the most poisonous of all mushrooms.

Top: poisonous Bottom: edible

Top: poisonous
Bottom: edible

Every September, families in Poland go mushroom picking together. As a child, I remember standing next to the car and waiting for my parents to bring big bags of mushrooms to clean. After a successful outing, mushrooms had to be either dried or pickled, which made the whole house smell nice.

The most poisonous mushroom

The most poisonous mushroom – red with white spots


What are the most popular Polish mushroom dishes?

1. Placki ziemniaczane & kluski with mushroom sauce – Chanterelle / Porcini
Placki are potato pancakes that can be served with either goulash or mushroom sauce. The best sauce is a chanterelle (kurki) sauce that takes over every dish in Poland during the summer.kurki

2. Pierogi – traditionally with Porcini

Pierogi are well-known all over the world. Those amazing dumplings can be filled with pretty much anything, but the best combination is cabbage with onion and porcini.pierogi

3. Pickled Bay Bolete mushrooms

Pickled mushrooms are extremely popular for Christmas, therefore they have to be prepared some time in advance.

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19 Comments

  1. Sep 21, 2014 / 3:51 am

    My next favorite Polish dish after pierogi would be kluski now 😀

    • Anna
      Sep 22, 2014 / 10:01 am

      I love kluski. Especially Silesian ones with a hole in the middle 😀

  2. Shaun
    Sep 21, 2014 / 4:52 am

    Love the picture of you as a kid! Adorable!

    Thanks for sharing

    • Anna
      Sep 22, 2014 / 10:00 am

      Aww thanks!

  3. Sep 22, 2014 / 9:59 am

    That’s a lot of mushroom in the picture with you!

    • Anna
      Sep 22, 2014 / 10:00 am

      It wasn’t even a lot actually. Sometimes we’ve got more than 10 big bags!

  4. Sep 26, 2014 / 12:20 am

    I know something about your mushroom addiction. I can see them every freaking day in our fridge :D!! What a cute picture of you holding some mushrooms Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!

    • Anna
      Oct 1, 2014 / 4:38 pm

      Mushrooms… mushrooms everywhere 😀 I should change the name of my blog 😀

  5. Oct 16, 2014 / 3:23 pm

    Hey, few weeks ago all my non-Polish friends laughed a lot when I published a photo on Instagram, showing my companions picking mushrooms in the woods. I didn’t realize this activity is so funny for foreigners untill this Fall. Even someone from UK was surprised. I wonder if there are different laws and customs regarding mushrooms in different parts of the World. 😉

  6. Nicholas
    Oct 17, 2014 / 4:12 am

    I’m adding mushroom picking to my bucket list! I love mushrooms too, especially porcini and morels.

  7. Eva
    Oct 31, 2014 / 1:08 pm

    Such a cute photo of you with the mushrooms!

    • Oct 31, 2014 / 1:11 pm

      Thanks dear!

    • Oct 31, 2014 / 3:54 pm

      Haha, you’re my idol! I thought the same thing about my post, but it seems like there are other mushroom fans!

  8. Asia
    Aug 17, 2016 / 3:03 pm

    great post! I like mushroom hunting but my foreign friends don’t get it. one thing, your rule concerning which type of mushroom is edible is not etirely correct. Easiest example for that is the rubroboletus satanas (in Polish: borowik szatański), which is flat and poisonous

    • Michael
      Oct 17, 2017 / 8:12 pm

      Not entirely true, it is bitter and it is not tasty but you cannot die by eating it, it’s not poisonous.

  9. Monica
    Oct 6, 2016 / 8:36 am

    I’m from Poland and love mushrooms too, even though I live in Australia now.

    • Oct 7, 2016 / 5:21 pm

      Mushrooms forever! <3

  10. Aug 15, 2017 / 11:44 am

    Hi Anna,

    I’m writing an article about the polish tradition of mushroom picking for my magazine Poland Today http://poland-today.pl/magazine/ and came across your blog – I really admire how you’ve managed to travel and achieve so much at the same time.

    Love the evocative memories of mushroom picking in your childhood!

    All the best, Richard

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