When is the wild edible mushroom season?
Wild mushrooms depend very much on the environment – location and weather. They, as any wild plants or trees, relate to weather seasons. For example, in winter it is too wet and cold for mushroom spores to develop, therefore all you can find in the forest is old wild frozen mushroom which has been forgotten and left unnoticed by the mushroom hunters in autumn.
Spring makes good weather conditions to allow some mushroom species to develop. One of wild edible mushrooms which can be found in the forest is Morchella species (Morchella esculenta, Morchella deliciosa, Morchella elata, Morchella conica, Morchella vulgaris). It is the first edible mushroom which can be found after long winter. It grows in the mixed (Pine and Aspen trees) forest right after snow is melted and new greenery starts to show up from the cover of last year autumn leaves. There is no way to specify the calendar month as it varies depending on the location. For example, in Germany and Czech Republic it would be the middle of March – beginning of April when in Scandinavia and Russia (most locations) it would be the beginning of May.
When trees have bloomed and developed green leaves and the grass is high enough to cover my hunting knife it is the time to look for wild edible pored mushrooms – Suillus species (Suillus granulates (known as the Weeping Bolete, or the Granulated Bolete) and Suillus luteus (known as as Slippery Jack or Sticky bun) – check pictures of mushrooms in the post “Wild mushroom types“). They would be hidden among the young (up to 2 meters or 6-7 feet) pine and spruce trees which grow close to birch trees within the grass. I usually go for mushroom hunting after series of warm sunny and rainy days. Small and delicious Suillus mushrooms are the first edible pored mushrooms on the table in a new season! For example, in Scandinavia these edible mushrooms could be found in the beginning of June.
The summer goes by and already in August depending on the humidity and temperature the greatest Boletus edulis (King Bolete) and other edible Boletus species can be found in the forest as well as some edible gill mushrooms can be found in the field. I remember in Czech Republic in the pine forest we have found Boletus luridis (known as Lurid Bolete), Boletus badius (synonymous with Xerocomus badius; known as Bay Bolete) and Boletus chrysenteron (synonymous with Xerocomus chrysenteron; known as Red Cracking Bolete) in the middle of July!
Of course, the greatest wild edible mushroom season starts in autumn when the weather is not hot anymore and the temperature remains at around 15-18 C with occasional rainy days. Depending on the geographical location it could be August or September. Throughout of September, October and beginning of November the tastiest mushrooms are at our disposal – pored edible mushrooms Boletus and Leccinum, gilled edible mushrooms Lactarius and Russula, Chanterella and others (check photos in the post “Wild mushroom types“). This is my favorite time to enjoy mushroom hunting for the great variety of wild edible mushrooms, cooking and tasting them as well as preserving for later use.
I will describe and show how I preserve collected mushrooms (dry, freeze and so on) in the later posts.
If you would like to learn more about wild edible mushroom types I would recommend the following books: