Mushroom Foraging: A Hobby With Health Benefits

The thrill of hiking is no secret. Apart from the adrenaline rush, it also helps to improve blood pressure, strengthen bones as well as improve mental health. But there is another alternative that has recently been trending globally with more health benefits and fun i.e., mushroom foraging. Mushroom foraging or mushroom hunting is an activity of gathering mushrooms in the wild. The most commonly-gathered varieties are chicken mushroom, morels, cantharellaceae ,puffballs, button mushrooms and pine mushrooms.  

 It’s a well-known fact that mushrooms have a great taste and amazing health benefits. Along with many essential vitamins and minerals, they also add flavour to different recipes. Mushrooms are loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin D which helps in lowering blood pressure, boosting immune system and promoting weight loss. It's just like treasure hunting where you walk for hours along with a small bag pack in the wild, in search of something precious. As it is an outdoor activity mushroom foraging can also help in overcoming anxiety, stress and depression. 

However, one should do this activity with precision and care. Here are a few tips to start with: 

1. Use Apps, Books Or Take Help Of An Expert  

There are several apps and books out there, such as Wild Edibles and Mushrooms Demystified, that can help you learn which mushrooms are safe to forage and which are not. And do take help of an expert as foraging in the wild can be risky. 

2. Don’t Pull But Cut  

 It is always preferrable to cut the mushrooms rather than pulling them up with the roots as cut mushrooms can re-grow in sometime whereas pulling stops its regrowth. Try to pluck only a handful at one time so that mushrooms get time to re-grow.  

 3. Ask Questions On Social Media  

There are several people running mushroom foraging groups online and there are experts available on the Internet who can guide through this. If you come across a mushroom that you don’t recognize, take a picture and post it on social media, there are lot of experts available who can help you out. Utilizing the knowledge of experts is an essential part of mushroom hunting.  

4. Forage After A Heavy Rain  

Mushrooms are wild and can grow in any weather but the best time to find them is after heavy rains. They grow in abundance after heavy rains, especially if the weather is dry, prior to the rains.  

5. Have Knowledge About Mushroom Growing Area  

The most difficult part about mushroom foraging is finding them. Each type of mushroom has different requirements for growing. So, one must have proper knowledge about the area before going mushroom hunting. Button and oyster mushroom are the most common variety available in India 

6. Learn About The Dangerous Mushrooms  

Before going on mushroom foraging, it is very necessary to know about the mushrooms which are inedible and dangerous. Even though they are not fatal, some can severely harm the organs, mainly the liver. 

Mushroom acts as a meat alternative for vegetarians and its foraging can not only connect you with nature but also lets you explore the wild side of it. It becomes a perfect workout for people who are struggling to find their workout routine.