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After autumn rains come mushrooms!

When autumn announces its arrival in the form of September showers, when the temperatures drop and the air gets a touch of that wintry sharpness, then the forests filled out with new inhabitants: mushrooms.

To be more precise, they will start sprouting two days after the rains, and after ten days comes what everyone can't wait for: mushroom picking season!

Vukomeričke gorice, Medvednica, Petrova gora, Trakošćan and the surroundings of Karlovac – these are the most famous destinations for Zagreb folk who go in search of this delicious produce every autumn, and they are all less than an hour's drive from the capital.

Photo: Srdjan Vrancic / CROPIX

But collecting mushrooms is not a simple and easy mission. It requires excellent knowledge, complete dedication and eyes wide open – namely, in Croatian forests, in addition to edible ones, there are also poisonous mushrooms (some of which are deadly), so many beginners decide to go mushroom picking accompanied by an expert guide, such as those found in mushroom growing societies like "Kamilo Blagaić" from Zagreb.

Those who want to further educate themselves and become familiar with various types of mushrooms, not only those found in Croatia, but also around the world, can visit the Zagreb Mushroom Museum. As many as 1,600 different species are divided into edible, inedible and poisonous, and this museum's theme in itself makes it one of the few in the world!

But let's go back to picking mushrooms. Besides avoiding the poisonous ones, you also have to be careful not to pick any of the mushrooms that are protected. So play it safe and pick porcini mushrooms, field mushrooms, parasol mushrooms, honey fungi, horns of plenty and - you wouldn't believe it – truffles!

It is unusual for a metropolis to be able to boast of this very rare and expensive underground delicacy, but Zagreb and its surroundings are home to black truffles of the highest quality. You can only locate them with the help of animals with a keen sense of smell, be it trained dogs or pigs, so most searchers decide on organized tours such as Truffle Hunting Zagreb.

In general, when picking mushrooms, the following rules apply: leave every third mushroom so that they can continue to reproduce and pick them off by gently twisting their stem. Nature is happy and you are happy! How could you not be when these mushrooms are the perfect addition to any autumn plate, whether you put them in a pasta or risotto, fry them or bread them, put them in an omelet or in a soup.

Photo: Berislava Picek / CROPIX 

A little secret! Experienced mushroom pickers know that they can be enjoyed all year round – mushrooms can be dried or stored in a chest and taken out as needed, so you can have autumn delicacies on your plate during all seasons!

Heading Photo: Berislava Picek / CROPIX

Published: 06.10.2022