This time we’ll talk about a really precious gift that Finnish nature gives us.
Chaga mushroom (or Inonotus obliquus, Latinisation of the Russian term ‘чага’ ), is a fungus. It grows only in dead or dying trees, but it should be collected only from living trees because, in a dead tree, it loses quickly its healing properties and its effectiveness. Typically chaga mushrooms can be found in trees that are at least 40 years old. The majority of them grow in birches but also in other trees like alder and aspen. It is present in 20% of the wounded birches in Finland. Chaga multiplies, so when you find one, look around because there might be others close by.
Do you also see a skull in this chaga? 💀
Especially in some part of Russia (like in Siberia) and in Sami areas, they have used it a very long time, since the foundation of their cultures. It is principally used boiled with water as a substitute of coffee or tea. In Russia it is common also for medical purposes, for example to prevent and to cure cancer.
- Energy: 159,4 kcal/100 g
- Proteins: 2,4–2,5 %
- Carbohydrates: 71,9–75,8 %, of which
- 32,6 % are lignins and
- 12,0 % are Beta-glucans
- Fats: 2,4 %
- Dry matter: 90,7 %
- Water: 9,3–13,2 %
- Ash: 1,6–14,5 %
Fiber, insoluble: 61 %
Fiber, soluble: 3,9 %
Minerals (trace elements ) : Antimony, barium, bismuth, boron, chrome , copper, germanium, manganese, selenium, zinc
Minerals: Calcium, cesium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus , potassium, rubidium, silicon and sulfur.
Vitamins : B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and D2
Chaga mushroom does not contain any traces of lactose or gluten.
Recently chaga has become more popular in all Finland because of its healthiness. Collecting chaga is not included in the every man’s right unlike all the other mushrooms because you would need some tools in order to detach it from the tree where it is growing and that process might hurt the tree. So what you can do is to ask a permission from land owner or collect it from your land. Don’t worry though: you can get a permission pretty easily since the trees in which chaga mushrooms grow are already dead or dying (unless they want to collect it themselves!). Also you don’t have to pick a lot of it: one average size chaga is well enough to last all through the year for its collector
How to collect chaga
Chaga has to be picked in clean places, far from city or factories because since it’s a mushroom it collects pollution and metals. Find an old forest because there you can find old wounded trees so your chances of finding chaga will grow. When you are in the forest, concentrate in the ragged looking trees. It’s easy to recognize chaga because of its carbon black color, so you can easily see it even from far away. Once you find your chaga, get it out with a small ax or saw. It will not be very difficult since the mushroom is softer than the wood. Avoid to wound the tree by making a clean cut.
This article now ends here, but this is not all! In the next posts you’ll discover how to preserve chaga, how to use it and many other tips. If you’d like to receive an e-mail when the posts will be released, subscribe to our newsletter here below ↓ or follow us in our social media channels that you find in the top bar menu here above ↑
And still some questions for you.. Is chaga mushroom well known in the area you live? Have you ever noticed these mushrooms in forests? Have you or some of your friends tried it?
Some info where taken from the book kindly donated by Jaakko Halmetoja “Chaga mushroom”, soon available also in English.