Hunting for Bolete – Porcini Mushrooms

Hunting for Bolete mushrooms is great fun for people of all ages and one of my favourite mushrooms to search for. In fact, like me many people find that mushroom hunting is very addictive and as such make several outings during the season to their favourite bolete mushroom spot.

Bolete’s edulis are known as the best mushrooms in the World, best still a number of bolete’s are choice edibles and are extremely popular throughout Europe.

Bay bolete (Bolete badius) is often dried and stored for future use. Like the superior Boletus edulis these mushrooms have a even deeper flavour on rehydrated, giving a rich woody flavour to any dish, perfect mushroom base for gravy, broths or stews.

European families set out early in the morning around dawn to begin their hunt for Bay boletes which are widely consumed all over Europe and can be found growing in coniferous or mixed deciduous forests emerging in large numbers usually three or four days after heavy rain.

Baskets of bolete mushrooms like these are a common site at markets and road side stalls throughout Poland, often accompanied by home cured meats and preserves.

Supervised by an elderly Polish women who also takes responsibility for their neighbours stall and eagerly hobbles over to customers wishing to make a purchase, that’s if the net curtain twitching “Babcia” does not beat her to it.

After two years of attempting to find mushrooms hotspots by myself I was finally lucky enough to of been invited to participate in a family mushroom hunting trip.
I was overjoyed at my chance to find out how the professional do it and have an expert identify my mushrooms.

There is something very rewarding about hunting for mushrooms, in fact I cannot wait to see what this year has in store. Usually following a two year cycle with one year having an abundance of mushrooms and the next year very few. Weather plays a critical role and a late winter or a dry summer can dramatically effect the mushroom availability for years to come.

Drying Bolete’s and Parasol caps is an ancient and practical way of preserving mushrooms for use in the winter months. Often hung from strings in a dry, dark well aired position will allow the Mushrooms to dry throughly and retain the deep earthy/nutty flavour and scent that is often associated with the species.

Can you see the Bolete Mushroom strings? These are lovingly collected and cleaned before threading the mushrooms on to a string of approx 20/25 caps and then hung often from the ceiling of a traditional European kitchen. Bolete Mushroom strings are prized throughout Europe and during festivities and celebrations the prices tend to soar.

Interested in learning more about foraging and how to make the best from wild edibles? Join our Foraging School on Facebook and subscribe to my blog updates for the latest tips, advice and upcoming classes.


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About Head Gardener 290 Articles
Award winning, 40 something year old professional plantsman and horticulturalist with National Trust, private parks and estate management background. My vast plant knowledge and hands on techinical experience, afforded me the opportunity to work in various horticultural landscapes, in the UK, USA & Eastern Europe. Having worked in both garden retail & the design service industry gave me the practical diversity and managerial skill set, required for running a large prestigious gardens and stately homes. I strongly believe knowledge is to be shared and have worked closely with people and staff of all ages and abilities keen to develop their passion for gardening, including groups of children, special needs and adults. I have hosted guided walks, talks and tours for those keen to learn about cultivated and wild plants, garden development, history and design. As an member of the NNCPG and National Trust, I am actively involved in the preservation of several important plant collections both in public and private gardens throughout the UK. “It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, in a garden it’s paradise” Follow @IGrowHort on GardenTags. Stephen is passionate about gardening as Head Gardener with a team of ten staff he manages a prestigious Cheshire country estate of 55 acres, inc wild flower meadows, woodland, organic kitchen and formal gardens. Follow Stephen today”

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