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

Air ambulance called to scene after report of shots fired in Abbotsford

Incident Monday afternoon in the area of Ross and Simpson roads

Chilliwack pauses to remember

Services held special significance, marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Early morning bagpipe playing at Chilliwack memorial on Nov. 11

Piper Greg McCormick taking part in international Battle’s Over tribute at Piper Richardson statue

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Calgary 2026 leader expects close vote in Winter Games plebiscite

Residents to choose in a non-binding vote on Tuesday whether they want city to bid on 2026 Olympics

VIDEO: Newcomer kids see first Canadian snowfall

Children arrived in Canada with their mother and two siblings last week from Eritrea

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

Touching note left on Lower Mainland veteran’s windshield

A veteran is hoping the writers of a note know how much he was touched by their kind words.

BCHLers on NHL Central Scouting players to watch list

The list includes seven current BCHL skaters

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Most Read