July 20, 2019
Reports from mushroom pickers (gobarji) on surprising yields, of especially porcini, have been on a steep rise since the hot summer weather turned wet about two weeks ago.
Although Slovenia is understood more or less as an agrarian society, thanks to the preservation of the forests the hunter-gather spirit is still alive and well. Picking herbs, mushrooms, berries and other wild foods and medicinal plants continues to be part of Slovenian culture. There are, of course, legal limitations on how much a person is allowed to take out of a forest on a single trip, and for the mushrooms the limit is 2kg.
Porcini, or jurčki in Slovenian, grow only when certain conditions are met and even then only for a short period of time. Apparently, these conditions have been met and even though porcini have been on a decline in the last decades they are popping out this year as if we were in the 1960s.
There are various edible mushrooms in Slovenian woods with different aromas, textures and various culinary uses, yet jurček remains the most valuable. It is an aromatic mushroom often cooked in a risotto or fried with eggs.
Jurček has a special place in the heart of a Slovenian hunter-gatherer as it presents a trophy that always brings smile on its finder’s face.
Warning: There are plenty of poisonous mushrooms in the Slovenian forests that look quite similar to the edible ones to the untrained eye. Do not pick mushrooms you don’t know nor eat them if they are not coming from a credible source. Also the rule of “poisonous mushrooms are bitter” is a false one, and in certain cases such as the death cap a single bite can be fatal.