Ariège, “land of mushrooms”: in this favorite hunting ground for mushroom enthusiasts, how do you know which ones are edible?

Ariège, “land of mushrooms”: in this favorite hunting ground for mushroom enthusiasts, how do you know which ones are edible?
Ariège, “land of mushrooms”: in this favorite hunting ground for mushroom enthusiasts, how do you know which ones are edible?

the essential
Ariège, a sparsely populated department which offers a real mushroom hunting ground, but many questions still arise every year on this subject: are they edible? Where can we find out? Are pharmacists still able to help and answer the questions we ask?

Mushroom picking is, in Ariège, much more than a simple outdoor activity. It is a tradition anchored in local culture, often shared with family or friends. Alain Vie, native of Laroque d’Olmes, devoted to picking mushrooms, gives us his childhood memories when, in the company of his grandmother and his father, he went to collect them: “We often went to the forest from Bélesta There, we found several known species, such as the ‘Delicious Milkfish’.”

Today, the enthusiast continues to crisscross the territory in search of these precious treasures: “In recent weeks, it is more the so-called ‘spring’ mushrooms that I have unearthed. You have to know where to find them like in the meadows or in the fields I left with coumelles, rosés-des-prés, gaiter buttons and even mousserons And, last weekend, I also picked my first morels!” exclaims, happily, the amateur.

Ariège is known as the “land of courage”, but also the “land of mushrooms” because it offers a rich and diverse terrain in this area. Last week, a team of mycologists found nearly 75 different species. This is why before embarking on picking, it is necessary to have a good knowledge of it. But if you’ve found some mushrooms and aren’t sure if they’re edible or not, going to a pharmacy isn’t such a bad idea.

Not recommended to eat it more than twice a month

Not everyone does, but some in certain pharmacies in the doctors’ department are able to answer and inform us about the different varieties. In one of them, based in Foix, a pharmacist explains: “During my course, I learned a lot about mushrooms, unlike the pharmacy technicians around me. I had numerous mycology courses, theoretical lessons where we learn the reproduction of the mushroom and practical lessons with practical work to recognize the different species. I know how to recognize most of them.

Regularly, “at least four times a month”, people come to his establishment with mushrooms that they have found and ask him for information: “When you find several kinds of mushrooms, you must always keep them separate. And especially don’t put them in a plastic bag, because that retains the heat and causes them to ferment, which can be even more dangerous than eating a toxic mushroom.” The professional also recommends insisting on cooking: “You have to always eat them well cooked and avoid consuming alcohol when tasting them.”

Other important advice: “It is not recommended to eat them more than twice a month, because they are not easily digestible. Especially since mushrooms are known to be sponges for toxic products,” recalls, finally, the pharmacist. If, in the majority of cases, thePharmacists can answer you, they cannot always guess where the mushroom comes from. When any doubt persists, it is preferable to go directly to a mycology center where experts will be better qualified to enlighten you.

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