Chanterelle Picking in Sweden

It’s that time of year, when the leaves are giving way to fall breezes and the wind is picking up.

But before winter comes to Sweden, there’s one very special things Swedes do; pick chanterelles {kantareller}.

From July to late September, the forests of Sweden are full of golden, delicious little mushrooms. Fry them in butter, throw them in a sauce, eat them straight, there’s noting better than fresh, hand picked chanterelles. Except for maybe blackberries.

I haven’t gone out to pick mushrooms since for one, we’re carless in Stockholm and two, we don’t have a ‘spot.’ Instead, I asked my girlfriend, M, for tips on picking mushrooms.

Tips on picking Chanterelles
1. Have kids with you, or short people. Seriously! You don’t have to stand like a hunchback the whole time you’re picking.

2. Chanterelles are found in group on the forest floor. If you find one, stop! You are going to find a lot more where you are.

3. Don’t reveal your chantarelle place to anyone! If you need to bring an outsider, blindfold them so they can’t find their way back. We take our chanterelle hunting seriously.

4. Make sure you pick the right ones. Watch out for the false chanterelle and jack-o-lantern. The former is edible but not tasty, the latter is a light poison and will give you a stomach ache for a couple days.

Jack-o-lanterns grow clumped together at the base of trees while chanterelles grow as individual mushrooms on the forest floor. Plus, jack-o-lanterns are bioluminescent, that is they glow in the dark.

A bunch of jack-o-lantern mushrooms. Photo by Hathaway’s Virtual Trail.

5. If you find yourself picking chanterelles by some other mushroom pickers in the same area, walk the other way. If you steal someone else’s mushroom place they will hit you, or something like that. It’s strictly forbidden to poach onto someone else’s area.

6. Study your mushrooms. There are other really good mushrooms other than chanterelles that you can pick. Stolt fjällskivling {parasol mushroom} is huge and very tasty.

A parasol mushroom. This one was 30cm in diameter! {Photo by A}

7. Clean them as you pick, preferably with a mushroom knife with a little brush on the end. Or, hire someone to clean the mushroom for you, it’s not fun to clean when you have picked 5+ kg. Hey kids, wanna clean?

8. Use a scissor to pick the mushroom. This leaves the root in the ground for more chanterelles to grow. And leave the area you hunt undisturbed. Nature’s beautiful, don’t turn it into a dump.

9. Don’t pick the small ones, leave them for other pickers to pick when they are fully grown, or, cover them with branches and come back a week or two later and pick them yourself.

10. Once you are back home, fry some up right away in butter, add some salt and eat them on bread or just as they are.

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