It’s that joyous time of year again. The time when my favourite wild mushroom starts springing up on grassy verges, ready for my breakfast. Known as St. George’s Mushroom in the UK, Vårmousseron in Scandinavia or by its Latin name, Calocybe gambosa, this delectable foraged delight grows in fields, by the side of roads, the edge of woodland and on patches of grass throughout Europe, North America, Russia and Japan.
Last year, when I was living on the outskirts of Stockholm, I was absolutely thrilled to discover them growing all over my housing complex (read more about this exciting time here and here). I could literally look out of the window of my flat, spot a few mushrooms and pop out to the best shop in the world. The shop where super nutritious and delicious food is always available and everything is free – nature!
Finding myself back in Stockholm just in time for the season to begin, I have been keeping my eye out. I was rewarded this week. Round the corner from my new pad I spotted a couple, though they were unfortunately too old to eat. Surely I hadn’t missed the whole season! So I hotfooted it back to my old stomping ground, breathlessly hopeful I would be greeted by the same sight I had enjoyed the year before – a veritable carpet of them.
I wasn’t disappointed.
Despite the condition of the few I had found earlier in the week, these ones were just coming up, many of them too young to pick. Thankfully there were some that were mature enough for me to not feel too guilty about picking them. For a moment there I thought I was too early, tantalizingly close to striking gold, but just that bit premature… But my fears were unfounded. Gold! Or mushrooms as I like to call them.
I’ve already detailed the basics of distinguishing these easy-to-identify, fabulously firm, yum-tastic mushrooms elsewhere on this blog, so I won’t repeat it here, but I wanted to let you all know that it is time! Keep your eyes peeled! The grass yields treasure!
In case you’re wondering how to prepare these babies, I’ll finish with a few tips. Although I don’t usually wash my mushrooms, these were very dirty so I trimmed and lightly scraped the stems clean with a sharp knife, rinsed them under the tap and dried them on a tea towel. They came up absolutely beautifully. There are literally endless ways to cook these mushrooms – they don’t give up as much water as some other wild mushrooms and hold their firm texture well during cooking. But in celebration of the start of the season, I utilised them in a luxurious celebration of spring: Wet & Wild Garlic Lasagne with Creamy St. George’s Mushrooms. Check out the recipe – it’s a good ‘un!