August is mushroom season. Many Norwegians fare out to the bountiful Norwegian forests in hopes of finding delicious mushrooms to use in their cooking. We give you the tips for your mushroom expedition.

Norwegians are good at spending time outside and taking advantage of whatever nature has to give. Gathering food is an important part of the Norwegian culture. This time of year, mushrooms have begun to pop up.

The Penny Bun is a safe mushroom and one of the most delicious ones too. Photo: Gunnar Bothner-By / Flickr.

1. Go for the safe ones

There are between 50-75 edible mushrooms in Norway, but many of them have poisonous twins that are difficult to see apart. Bring a mushroom book, even if you are an experienced mushroom gatherer,  to make sure you get the safe mushrooms only.

The golden chanterelles are safe and very good, as well as hedgehog mushrooms which are similar to chanterelles, but are recognizable by their characteristic spines hanging down from the cap. The penny bun is also safe and an excellent food mushroom in Norway. Most edible mushrooms are found in pine forest and mixed forest.

2. Avoid worm hotels

We are not the only ones who enjoy mushrooms. Insects and worms love them and usually move into them! Bring a small knife so you can open the mushroom and check if it has been eaten by worms. The last thing you want is to bring a worm hotel back home.

3. Store them correctly

They do look beautiful, but everyone should know that the red fly amanita is poisonous. Photo: Ole Husby / Flickr.

Always pick mushrooms in a wooden basket or maybe a paper bag. Mushrooms need oxygen to survive, like the rest of us. They can easily go bad if you put them in plastic bags, and then the whole trip will be wasted.

4. When in doubt, don’t pick them

It’s easy to stay away from the red fly amanita because of its color. But have you heard about its amanita siblings in brown, white and green as well, commonly known as the King of Sweden, the destroying angel and the death cap, respectively? If you put one of them in your basket, you’ll have to throw the whole lot out. That’s how poisonous they are. Be sure to use your mushroom book and when in doubt, don’t pick them!

5. Prepare the mushrooms before eating

Never eat mushrooms raw. Always prepare them before eating, but don’t rinse them in water, it will attract the water and not taste too well. Dust off earth and fry it in good butter. Mushrooms are great in many dishes, like pasta, salads and soups, as well as garnish for the steak or on top of the burger. Let your creativity guide you!

Yummy! Mushrooms taste great and can be used in many wonderful dishes. Photo: Eirik Solheim / Flickr

Find great receipts with mushrooms here (in Norwegian).