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The Polish Mushroom Hunting Tradition

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The Polish Mushroom Hunting Tradition

“Grzybobranie” - that means “mushroom hunting” in Polish and it is one of the biggest reason why people in Poland look forward to summer! Mushroom hunting (or mushroom picking) is one of Poland’s biggest pastimes. This is relevant in Polish cuisine, too. If you love Polish food, you know countless dishes feature some type (or variety) of forest mushroom. Knowing the difference between a Boletus edulis and the inedible Tylopilus felleus may seem pretty complex to most of us but in Poland, it’s almost common knowledge. 

Mushroom

Though the greatest enthusiasts set out to begin their yearly mushroom collection even as early as April, it is July - September that mushroom hunting in Poland is at its peak. Common early spring mushrooms include sponge mushrooms and morel mushrooms while the summer group includes chanterelles, boletes, sitar, buttermilk mushrooms, and much more. Finally, a typically rainy yet still warm September produces the highest amount of mushrooms. It is then that the popular porcini and boletus are most picked, and the mushroom hunting rush of the early fall can last until October. 

Mushrooms

Timelines aren’t strict however, when it comes to the national Polish sport of mushroom hunting. The most passionate mushroom pickers in Poland set out to fill their baskets from early spring all the way through late fall (even in November the forests of Poland might produce some great, edible finds). 

Mushrooms

Polish mushroom hunting not only offers an opportunity for connection with nature and good exercise, but, as noted above, it also results in a full gamut of dishes - from very traditional recipes to more innovative modern creations. The forest mushrooms of Poland can be found in anything from common dishes such as the Polish “zupa grzybowa” (mushroom soup) or stuffed cabbage rolls (golabki) to ice cream or even liqueur! The average mushroom hunters in Poland, however, typically dry their mushrooms and save them for popular winter dishes, particularly those that are a part of the Polish Wigilia. 

Polish forest mushrooms can be stirred, simmered, cooked, marinated and certainly enjoyed all year long! They are not only valued for their taste and earthy aroma, they’re also a great source of nutrients. Low in calories, they are simultaneously high in dietary fiber, protein, numerous vitamins and micronutrients, and sometimes regarded as forest meat. In fact, many centuries ago, the peasantry gathered mushrooms as a way to enrich their menus and make money selling their finds. 

Today, everyone in Poland, and Poles around the world continue to celebrate in this old tradition, setting out to nearby forests with their baskets for an annual batch of their favorite mushrooms. 

MushroomFrom dried mushrooms to stuffed cabbage rolls, pierogi and more we’ve got some of Poland’s favorite mushroom foods available on Polana.com. Click on the links below to shop!


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