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August, 16, 2017

Where to Pick Mushrooms at Lake Baikal: a Review of the Most Interesting Places

The season of “quiet hunt” is in full swing now: forests will make mushroom pickers happy with their treasures from early August until late autumn Siberian.

Where should the residents of the Baikal region go, in order to gather a guaranteed full basket of mushrooms? Let’s review the most accessible and popular places.

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Slyudyanka:  there are lots of aspen mushrooms, birch boletuses, yellow boletuses, milk mushrooms and saffron milk caps in the forests around this settlement. A walk among the fragrant cedars and pine trees will be a real pleasure and let you relax from the city bustle while collecting a decent amount of reserves of environmentally sound delicacies.

Peschanaya Bay and Podkamennaya Station:  there you will find a real delicacy - delicious and flavorful porcini mushrooms. And after a hard day you’ll have a perfect rest on the coast of Lake Baikal and swim in the crystal clear and very warm water of the Peschanaya Bay.

Tunkinskaya Valley, the settlements of Bolshie Koty and Arshan will please the fans of milk mushrooms and orange milk mushrooms with their amazing harvest. The stunning nature of the Tunkinskaya Valley will let you turn the “quiet hunt” into a real aesthetic pleasure. We recommend you to get to the village of Bolshie Koty by boat or through a picturesque hiking trail:  this will be a real adventure. Arriving at the village of Arshan, you will be able not only to get enough mushrooms, but also collect mineral water which has long been famous for its curative properties. 

Kachugsky, Goloustnenskiy, Kultuksky highways, as well as the 105th and 166th kilometers of Aleksandrovsky highway can boast of chanterelles, saffron milk cups, whitecaps, bovines mushrooms, boletinus mushrooms and variegated boletuses. Even a hypercritical gourmet will find mushrooms to his/her taste here.

The surroundings of the settlement of Pivovarikha are rich in a large number of honey fungi, variegated boletuses and porcini mushrooms. The settlement is located just 6 km away from the center of Irkutsk. Picking up mushrooms in this village is an excellent option for those who want to get a sufficient reserve of mushrooms, but do not like the idea of going far from the city.

The above-mentioned types of mushrooms are excellent for drying, pickling, cooking and frying.

However, do not forget that mushrooms can be not only delicious treats. Some species of mushrooms are dangerous for human life and health. These include: fly agaric, sulfur-tufts (false honey fungi), saddle fungi, involute paxillus.

Important information!

1. Do not pick mushrooms near the car roads, landfills or chemical plants – mushrooms accumulate harmful substances and become unsuitable for food consumption

2. Pick up mushrooms only if you are absolutely sure that they are edible – this way you be guaranteed to avoid poisonings.

3. Put each species of mushrooms in a separate container, immediately clearing them of debris – thus you will be able to preserve the mushrooms in a better way.

4. Do not pick mushrooms with cracks and other damages - they accumulate toxins that are harmful for the human body

5. The mushrooms picked by you need to be sorted out on the day of their collection, besides, all dubious and damaged mushrooms should be thrown away.

6. Mushrooms must be heat-treated on the day you picked them or not later than on the next morning. Do not eat raw mushrooms.

Rules of orderly behavior in the forest

As you go in the wild, remember that a person must take care of the environment and always observe the following rules:

1. Do not leave traces of your stay in the forest. Keep strict watch that no garbage is left after your walk. And if you notice bottles or candy wrappers left behind by others, do not be lazy to grab and take them to specialized sites for garbage collection and disposal.

2. Protect plants and all living things. Do not cut the bark from the trees, do not make inscriptions and cutouts on the trunks – these actions can seriously damage the trees. Do not break the bushes and do not root away flowers and other plants. Never do harm to insects, reptiles and animals. Do not ruin anthills and bird nests; do not catch butterflies for fun.

3. Watch for fire safety. You must avoid leaving any kind of glass, cigarette butts, matches, non-extinguished fires and all things that could provoke a fire in the forest. Make bonfires only if necessary, on a prepared site:  there should be no peat, moss or similar combustible materials nearby.

4. Keep quiet. Loud conversations or music can scare away beasts and birds during their breeding period. In addition, you will bother other people who came to the forest to enjoy the beauty and silence of the nature, have rest from annoying loud sounds. Please be mutually polite.

Safety rules in the forest

1. When you are going to travel to the forest, be sure to warn your relatives about the journey. If possible, please take a companion with you: you shouldn’t go alone. This rule is especially important for the elderly people.

2. Remember all the turns and paths along which you go forward, in order to go back without problems.

3. Necessarily take a sufficient supply of drinking water, matches or a lighter, a knife, a fully charged phone.

4. Do not go to unknown or unfamiliar places during dark hours. It is best to go in the wild in the morning and return until darkness.

5. If you get lost and cannot find your own way on your own for several hours in a row, do not panic: you will only aggravate the situation. Stay on one place, do not wander or go deeper into the forest. Call 112 and wait for help.

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