In Finland, everyman’s rights allow anyone to pick mushrooms or berries freely, even on privately owned land
Mushrooms can be gathered without a permit on private property as long as one does not create a disturbance or cause damage to the landowner. One may not gather mushrooms in private yards, however.
Mushroom hunting in wet weather should be avoided because wet mushrooms quickly spoil. The best type of container for mushroom gathering is a roomy basket that lets in plenty of air, keeping the mushrooms intact and dry. A plastic bag or bucket is not suitable. Mushrooms will keep well and taste their best if picked when young and in prime condition. Ideally, only one type of mushroom should be placed in the same container. The acrid milk-caps should be kept separate from mild mushrooms that can be cooked as they are.
Mushrooms are picked by carefully twisting the stem to separate them from the ground, keeping the entire mushroom intact and allowing identification based on stem features. Preliminary cleaning can be done immediately after picking. The adhering soil is removed by cutting off the base or peeling off the affected layer. If necessary, the mushroom is split open and the slimy cap cuticle of the slippery jack, for example, is removed. The brush on a mushroom knife is useful for cleaning off debris that clings to the cap.
Mushrooms do not keep long once they have been picked. They should therefore be pre-processed or prepared for eating on the same day if possible. The thin-fleshed ink-caps will not keep overnight even in a refrigerator, whereas chanterelles, hedgehog fungi and sheep polypores, for example, can easily be stored overnight in a cool, well-ventilated place.
The golden rules for mushroom hunters:
- Pick mushrooms whole, twisting and pulling them carefully off the ground.
- Do not gather mushrooms in rainy weather or when they are wet.
- Pick young specimens in as good a condition as possible so that they will keep well and taste their best.
- Clean and process mushrooms immediately after picking them in the forest.
- Place mushrooms in an airy basket or container, never in a plastic bag or bucket.
- Ideally, each container should include only one type of mushroom.
- Do not pick white mushrooms.
Gather only mushrooms that you can identify without doubt as edible species. Do not gather any of the white Agaricus mushrooms unless you are completely sure that you can distinguish them from the Destroying Angel (Amanita virosa).