Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mushroom Picking in the Komi Republic (Республика Коми)

My friend, Irisha of Syktyvkar, recently sent me photographs of her parents mushroom picking in the woods outside her city. The Komi Republic is known for its extensive forests, including the largest virgin forests remaining in Europe. Irisha says the best mushrooms are found in the white moss carpeted pine forests, such as shown in these photographs.

These mushrooms look quite tasty, I wish we had something comparable here. The whole thing reminds me of picking fiddleheads in the woods in Vermont with my grandparents (also quite tasty when fresh). Irisha says these are belyi grib (white mushroom). It isn't white as you can see, but the name is because it is white inside and it doesn't change color when it is cut. Other variety of mushrooms might change color (become darker or blue or red) on the place where you cut them.

I should also mention that Irisha was particularly concerned that I didn't think her parents always dressed like this - these clothes are for mushroom picking only! Fashion and being well-dressed are certainly more important in Russia than here in the US.

Katya's family also is quite fond of mushroom picking, we might have some photos of their prized finds someday. However, Katya really doesn't enjoy going into the woods at all and seems to be one of those people that mosquitoes and other biting insects really love!


Bryce said...

Interesting story from the Komi Republic!

This is a link to a great website that is actually in the Komi language:

Коми wiki browser

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