Giant mushroom find makes Thanksgiving tastier for B.C. couple

The giant king bolete mushroom was almost three kilograms

Olya Kutsiuruba and David Swab of Vancouver had just spent a day doing what they love — mushroom picking — and their baskets were full of the day’s bounty, when Kutsiuruba says her husband started lagging behind.

It was late Thursday afternoon as they were walking down a hilly slope in the Sea to Sky corridor between North Vancouver and Squamish, when Swab “let out a shriek” and started backing away from a bush.

“I thought he was bitten by something or he saw a bear,” Kutsiuruba said in an interview.

“I ran over and he told me to peek under the underbrush, and I looked through the leaves gently and there sat the most massive mushroom.”

She said both of them burst out laughing on seeing the giant king bolete mushroom — a brownish-white monster that tipped the scales at 2.92 kilograms and measured about 36 centimetres wide across the cap.

“For mushroom pickers this isn’t something that happens at all,” she said. “If ever.”

The fungiphiles like to go out as much as they can in the fall, and Kutsiuruba said this year they have noticed there are a lot more mushrooms than there were last year.

“I have an entire fridge full of mushrooms in paper bags. We have way too much. It’s kind of the case with mushrooms. When it rains, it pours,” she said.

The hobby isn’t without its dangers: last week, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control warned mushroom lovers not to forage in urban areas of Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island because they could reap a deadly harvest. Death cap mushrooms are the deadliest on the planet and have been identified in 100 locations in the Vancouver area, the warning said.

But Kutsiuruba said the practice is “almost in our blood.” She said her grandmother was an avid mushroom picker in Ukraine who taught Kutsiuruba’s father, who in turn taught her.

“As a kid I got really excited about it … mushroom picking is part of my heritage and I enjoy it. I’m happy that I can carry it on with my husband,” she said, adding that she planned to share photos of their big find with family members in Ukraine.

Kutsiuruba said she and her husband spent most of Saturday dehydrating the giant king bolete, and all those mushrooms will make for a tastier Thanksgiving.

“We’re very much thankful for this,” she said. “It’s really our own little harvest.”

She said she’s going to make her favourite dish with the king bolete — a dill-heavy, creamy sauce that can be poured over mashed potatoes, polenta or perogies. She said she learned the recipe from her mother.

Hina Alam, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

West Kelowna to hire eight more firefighters

The city looks to solve what they are calling a critical shortage of firefighters

Kelowna RCMP look to reunite stamp collection with owner

The stamp collection was handed to RCMP in Oct.

Kelowna RCMP search for speed-slowing cut out

The cut out of Const. Warren Ning has been allegedly taken from A.S. Matheson Elementary School

Battling winter blues, depression and SAD after the holidays

Kick the blues on ‘Blue Monday’ that is supposedly the most depressing day of the year

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

9 brains, 3 hearts: Some wild facts about octopuses

Things to know about the giant Pacific octopus, which is naturally found in the waters of the U.S. West coast, the Aleutian Islands and Japan

Hollywood announces 2019 Oscar nominations

Netflix has scored its first best picture nomination, something the streaming giant has dearly sought

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

Man charged in 7-Eleven fire in Shuswap granted bail

Accused facing arson charges released with 23 conditions including a 7 p.m. curfew

Signs commemorating Japanese interment in the Shuswap planned

Information on each of the five internment camps in the area will be provided at camp locations

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Most Read