Foraging in autumn and the benefits of surrounding yourself in nature

Last weekend I went foraging in the woods with my friend Antonio.

Antonio is originally from Italy but has been living in the UK since he was 26 years old; he married my “cooking friend” Rosetta. Whenever I visit them there is always a freshly baked cake or something delicious cooking in the oven. Rosetta made fabulous Italian taralli for me!

Antonio is a keen forager, he particularly loves wild mushrooms.. they are in fact is greatest passion.


Mushroom picking

These days I go to the woods every single day because I work in a place surrounded by natural beauty.

There is a thing called “Forest Medicine” or the science of using nature to heal yourself. Forest bathing reduces stress and can boost your immune system. A walk in the woods can help making you feel immediately lighter and much better afterwards. Nature is very powerful indeed.

English countryside

I love the colours of autumn and there are so many mushrooms around, some are really beautiful but because I am not an expert at recognizing them I never pick them. You should never pick mushrooms if you are not with someone who knows them well. Looking at a mushroom’s picture on the internet it is not enough and some poisonous ones can look very similar to edible ones.

Wild mushroom

Wild mushroom violet colour

And some are particularly beautiful too but.. very toxic like this one…known as “Amanita Muscaria”.

Amanita Muscaria poisonous mushroom

I was fascinated by the way Antonio can recognize good mushrooms by smelling them.

Mushroom picking in the UK

Antonio prefers Porcini mushrooms, the kings of mushrooms as they are so delicious and go well in so many dishes like risotto, pasta or can be paired with meat too.

Porcino mushroom

Antonio radiates happiness, especially when he finds lots of porcini!

Foraging in the woods

If I am by myself all I can pick is chestnuts as they are safe; I have never found as many like this year.

Roasted chestnuts are really delicious and because I could’t eat them all I have frozen them raw. When you cook them from frozen you don’t even need to slit them. Just pop them in a pan and roast them as they are. Easy!

Roasted chestnuts

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16 Responses to Foraging in autumn and the benefits of surrounding yourself in nature

  1. angiesrecipes

    Those nature shots are so beautiful! Cool that you found all those chestnuts in the nature while I can only get some from the supermarkets. :-)))

    • Alida

      I used to get them from supermarkets too but I know where to go now to find them. I live very close to the woods. Foraging feels good!

  2. Mimi

    Antonio is adorable! Nature indeed heals. I miss living in a forest environment so much, but then, that is why we travel so much. Great post.

    • Alida

      Yes indeed. I have known Antonio for a long time and I am very fond of him. His joy of living is contagious.

  3. 2pots2cook

    Absolutely beautiful post dear Alida ! Shared, pinned…….. amazing ! xo

    • Alida

      Thank you 🙂

  4. speedy70

    Che foto meravigliose, adoro i funghi, evviva l’autunno!

    • Alida

      Anche io li mangerei ogni giorno.

  5. Katerina

    I used to love foraging for mushrooms when I was growing up in Europe, it’s such a wonderful tradition over there. No one really does it here in Australia, nor does anyone know different types of mushrooms, like we all did, ever since we were little kids. Porcini are absolutely wonderful – yum! Hope you enjoyed!

    • Alida

      You are right, it is a wonderful tradition and it shouldn’t be lost. There is no comparison to shop-bought mushroom which don’t have much taste. “Real” mushrooms have an incredible taste, so deep and so satisfying!

  6. Ron

    Alida, your so right, as in my mind, the best place for a walk is in the forest. Your images are wonderful and I enjoyed watching you guys forage. Thanks for sharing your day in the forest.

    • Alida

      I know you enjoy walks in the forest and foraging too. I have seen many of your lovely posts about it.

  7. Laura De Vincentis

    Guardare queste foto e sentire il profumo del bosco in autunno. Che magia! Un bacio

    • Alida

      Si il bosco e’ veramente un luogo magico!

  8. Roz

    How fortunate that you can hunt for mushrooms in such a lovely surrounding! I have yet to bake with chestnuts, but my parents and grandparents always spoke of them when they lived in Italy.

    • Alida

      They are so popular there, people make all sort of things with chestnuts. I love chocolate and chestnut cakes particularly.

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