Mushroom season: Where to go mushroom picking in Aalborg

by Nathalia Hentze Nielsen

Summer is slowly coming to an end, and while we’ll miss the bright days, autumn also offers plenty of exciting outdoor experiences.

One popular autumn activity is mushroom picking or, alternatively, a little “mushroom safari” if you just want to observe them.

Autumn is the peak mushroom season of the year because the weather conditions are optimal; it’s moist and not too hot.

But where are the good mushroom spots in Aalborg? Why are mushrooms interesting? And which mushrooms are actually edible?

These are all questions we’ve asked Mikkel Vestergaard Rødvig, who is Aalborg Municipality’s new nature guide and a passionate mushroom enthusiast.

Many mushroom hotspots

Why should you take your children and head out to pick mushrooms?

“Simply getting out into nature is a fantastic thing. There’s a lot of education and memorable moments in it. You also gain a basic understanding of the natural sciences and the role of mushrooms in nature.”

Why are mushrooms important in nature?

“They are decomposers, which means they break down plant remains and make them ready for other animals to feed on. For example, woodlice live on rotten and decomposed wood, and mushrooms are the ones breaking it down first.

It’s somewhat similar to buying raw chicken and taking it home to cook. In nature, mushrooms serve the function of ‘cooking’ food.”

What are some good mushroom picking spots in Aalborg Municipality?

“Hals Mose is an excellent choice. There are plenty of mushrooms and hiking trails. Hammer Bakker is also a mushroom hotspot, as is Lundby Krat. These are the three major well-known places.

Additionally, there are many municipal and state-owned areas. There are specific rules for private places, so it’s a good idea to stick to municipal and state-owned lands.

The entire forest area near Aalborg Zoo is a great place to explore. Generally, there are good opportunities to find mushrooms in urban parks and grassy areas.”

How do you know if mushrooms are edible or not?

“I would suggest taking a mushroom course. But you can hardly go wrong with a common edible mushroom like the ‘rørhat’; at worst, it might taste bad. As a general rule, never eat something you don’t know what is for sure.

Go on a trip with someone who knows about mushrooms or take the time to learn about them. It takes time, and you need to thoroughly educate yourself.

As a rule of thumb, never bring something into the kitchen that you’re not 110% sure of. It’s too late once you’ve already chopped the mushrooms. Identify them by species immediately.

There are limited dangerous mushrooms in Denmark. Most are mildly toxic, but the green and white amanita should absolutely not be brought into the kitchen.”

If someone wants to take a mushroom course or learn more, can you recommend some good resources?

“There are different associations, such as the ‘Foreningen til Svampekundskabens Fremme’ (Association for the Promotion of Mushroom Knowledge). It caters to both mushroom enthusiasts and people who just like picking a chanterelle or two.

There are also mushroom groups on Facebook where they identify species, and the Danish Society for Nature Conservation (Dansk Naturfredningsforening) organizes tours and events in North Jutland.

You can join various guided mushroom tours where they point out species precisely. It’s very affordable, if not free.”

Experiment for children

Although most people associate mushrooms with cooking, Mikkel Vestergaard Rødvig would like to encourage using them for learning purposes.

He has a suggestion for a small experiment that families can do together.

“If you find gilled mushrooms, you can remove the stem and place half of the cap on a piece of black paper and the other half on white paper.

After a few days, the spores will cross, creating a spore print. It creates a delicate pattern on the papers. This demonstrates how mushrooms reproduce and is very fascinating for children.

Afterward, you can scatter the spores in the garden and grow your own mushrooms. It’s a great way to spark curiosity,” concludes the nature guide.

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