Although it is possible to find them throughout the year, autumn is the preferred season for mycology fans to go into the mountains in search and collection of mushrooms. The weather conditions of this time favor their proliferation , both that of mushrooms and, consequently, that of “seteros”. The problem is that not everyone knows what is the best and most responsible way to carry out this activity.
When you go to the forest to collect mushrooms, it is essential to carry a basket or a rigid and airy container. “The aeration is so that the mushrooms do not suffer while we are walking, since they continue to breathe.
If you put them inside plastics and closed places, they ferment very quickly. Apart from that, these holes that all the baskets have allow the to disperse the spores , which is the method of reproduction that fungi have, “explains Luis Rubio, a forestry engineer and an expert mycologist.
The fact that it is rigid is also very important. “If we were to go with something soft -type a fruit mesh, which is also aerated-, it happens that the mushrooms end up going to the bottom of the bag and, as it moves, they would be destroyed and we would end up having a mush,” adds Rubio .
Apart from the basket, it is essential to carry a knife or a field knife , “either to cut the mushroom if we know it and we do not want to take the part of the foot or to make a little lever and tear it carefully”. In addition, the knife can also be used to clean them a bit before putting them in the basket. The mushrooms must be cleaned very well since, in addition to the remains of earth, they are full of small insects.
Other practical utensils are a brush, paper bags to store the most fragile mushrooms and aluminum foil , which is ideal for storing and keeping in good condition the mushrooms that one wants to take to someone to identify them.
“We collect two or three specimens, one quite mature and other young ones to see how that mushroom evolves from young to adult. Then we keep them in aluminum foil and put it in the fridge, in the fruit and vegetable part, where it can last about four or five days in perfect condition “, explains the expert.
When picking mushrooms that are not known, it is best to insert the knife near the foot and make a little lever so that it comes out completely, since when identifying them it is necessary to observe all the characteristics they have , from the tip of the hat to the base of the foot.
“When we pick up a mushroom to find out what it is, apart from taking it whole and seeing the colors and shapes it has, it is very important to bring it to the nose , always under the hat, to see what it smells like. Many mushrooms that can be identified only with the smell, “says Luis Rubio.
Beware of poisonous mushrooms
Sometimes it is also necessary to try them, although always with great caution . “There are many mushrooms in the bush and they are very easy to confuse one with another since every edible mushroom has two or three toxic species that can be quite similar. Someone who knows mushrooms recognizes the ones in the bush simply by looking at them. . not worth tricks , no kind of computer application and no matter how good book you can easily recognize them . the field experience and years picking mushrooms show you how to do well , “says the expert.
More and more mycology apps are emerging, but none offer one hundred percent reliability and you have to be very cautious. The applications have databases with the basic shapes of the mushrooms, but they cannot identify all the possible changes and malformations that they suffer. “
As in human beings, one is lame, another is cross-eyed, another is handsome … In the field, many mushrooms are normal and kind, but the vast majority suffer from adverse weather conditions, the animals change them because they eat a piece … and that, when introduced in computer applications, leads to confusion that can become dangerous ” , warns the mycologist.
Caution is something that must be taken into account with all types of mushrooms, even some as common as mushrooms. In Spain there are approximately forty different species of wild mushrooms that look like the ones in stores: the hat is white on top and underneath it has pink blades that turn black. But, just like there are edible wild mushrooms, there are also toxic wild mushrooms . “Of those forty species, half a dozen of them can cause gastrointestinal disturbances and, therefore, it is best to buy them in the market,” he recommends.
In case of poisoning with a mushroom, what you have to do is go quickly to a large hospital, because it is the only place where they can have the necessary means to solve the problem. There are two types of intoxication , some less serious that occur within a few minutes or a few hours of having consumed the mushroom and lead to vomiting and diarrhea and other serious that usually appear after at least six hours after having eaten the mushrooms. . At first these intoxications have the same symptoms as mild ones, vomiting and diarrhea, but “after a small improvement, the next day, toxins begin to act at the liver or kidney level and destroy them”.
“You have to be aware that there are many toxic mushrooms in the forest and that, therefore, you have to take minimum precautions: if you don’t know them, leave them; if once at home there are doubts, when in doubt, put them away ; And then, if we know someone who knows or we have the possibility of going to a nearby mycological center, take the mushrooms so that they can identify them calmly, “advises Rubio.
Respect for the environment
Another important point when going out to pick mushrooms is the need to take care of the environment. It is not uncommon to go out into the fields in the fall and find broken mushrooms and destroyed areas of land.
According to the expert, “the most important thing is to be respectful with the ecosystem. Mushrooms are fulfilling their fundamental role in the ecosystem by degrading all the organic matter that composes it, therefore they are essential for a forest to function as it should. Without a forest there are no mushrooms and a battered forest will stop producing mushrooms. “
The mycology craze is causing some problems due to the lack of legislation on the subject. The problem largely stems from the boletus craze . “Boletus is a highly appreciated mushroom, which is very tasty, it yields a lot in the kitchen and, therefore, is now in all restaurants. The fact that it is in all restaurants has its positive side and its negative side: for a On the other hand, more and more people know it and therefore there are more possibilities to promote and respect it, on the negative side is the trade “, says the mycologist.
“Nowadays the Boletus Edulis trade is completely out of whack in many autonomous communities, on the one hand because it is not properly legislated and on the other because the legislations that are being drawn are in favor of the uncontrolled commercialization of this forest product” , he assures.
“An attempt is being made to put an end to the matter in some autonomous communities by limiting forests, preventing edible mushrooms from being collected en masse, and imposing fines on those who break and deteriorate them, but many of the actions that are being carried out legally continue to affect only in the commercial aspect of it “, insists the professional.
“If the boleto resource continues to be exploited at the same rate that is being done today, we will end up running out of boletus in our forests in a few decades and we will have the same problems in the mycological world that we have had in other sectors such as fish farming. to be able to cultivate them and being all wild mushrooms, if the resource is not completely protected and collected in moderation, we will end it and we will have the bad luck of not enjoying it, “says Luis Rubio.