Rambling Salamander - Martina - is originally from the Czech land where mushroom hunting could be considered national sport !
It is one of the Czech's favourite pastime when whole families wakes up at dawn, grab their baskets and off they go to woods, off the beaten paths to search for these delicacies.
It is great fun, but one needs to be quite knowledgeable to select the right ones , or as they say "All mushrooms are edible, some only once ! "
How the Czechs go about it ?
They head to the forest, Czechs are lucky as they have granted free access to every woods in the country, so no need to worry about a gamekeeper chasing after them.
They bring a basket or a bucket to collect their treasures, a knife to cut and clean the mushrooms, a friend for a company as two Czech mushroom pickers can double as a mushroom experts, or a mushroom guide - if they do not have a czech friend on hand
The Czech hard-core mushroom hunters wear a camouflage suit and khaki wellies, however gortex jacket, waterproof trousers and pair of old hiking shoes will do too.
Here comes the most important but dangerous part; picking the right mushrooms. Basically, all edible mushrooms are brown, grey-brown or tan - just like the woods colours. All the colourful and fanciful ones are practically poisonous and psychedelics, so Czechs stay away from them, unless they looking for magic mushrooms
Czechs have a method when picking the mushrooms; they do not picking them like flowers, but very carefully cut the stem from the ground. Czech friend might yell at at each other for hours if the picking process is not quite kosher.
After picking, the boring part is coming up ; cleaning and cutting , there are aplenty of ways of cutting the mushrooms, but it would be too tiring for you to read all about it, so just to say if Czechs want to enjoy their mushrooms in the winter , they cut and dry them and store them in a cool and dry place
There is one important Czech fact - Intentionally damaging mushrooms, even the toxic ones, is considered very impolite.
So, enjoy your pastime :)
Photo credit: www.frazerwaller.com