Then, to prepare them for cooking, you start by rolling a bunch roughly on a chopping board to bash the sting out of the stalks, then chop the nettles finely. To cook them in a stew, say, you simply add them to a saucepan and let them simmer with the rest for fifteen minutes or so, adding extra flavour to the dish. Nettles are packed with protein, and work particularly well in soup, I’m told!
Mushrooms can be found in abundance – the best spots are usually wild, uncut areas that are hard to reach. Yep, it seems you have to work for your mushroom hoard! Micke can identify chanterelles, plus fourteen other species that aren’t too difficult for “non-specialists” to spot. “Experts” would be able to pin down a further six or so species... the ones that are almost indistinguishable from highly toxic varieties, and which non-specialists steer clear of, just in case.
Micke showed us a superb book with excellent, detailed photos that assist mushroom hunters (and keep them safe!) in their quest. Different varieties are rated according to how tasty they are – using stars – and how toxic – using crosses. No crosses = OK to pick and eat. One cross = boil them first. Two crosses = deadly! Once picked, mushrooms can be either frozen, in which case they’ll keep for a few months, or dried and then stored in jars for up to forty years! So I imagine a good crop provides plenty of hearty mushroom stroganoffs through the cold Scandinavian winters...
Photo: Micke shows us a few jars in his mushroom collection :)