Autumn is like a relaxed lunch party the day after a big night out, when you take your too-tight togs off, breathe out and have a good time, for real. It's grown-up red wine over girly rosé, apple crumble over salad. It's fire and flame colours and back to school and traffic-light trees and mist-veiled mornings and the smell of rotting fruit and it's right up my street.
When we lived in Scotland, a highlight of this time of year was apple pressing at my parents-in-law's house, so this year we invested in our very own apple press, designed and hand-made by our Danish friend Calle Christensen, a creative genius of the Heath Robinson school. Isn't she a beauty?
The specially nifty elements are that it integrates the fruit press and crusher (powered by an ordinary electric drill) in one machine, and uses a small car jack to squeeze up from below rather than press down from above.
I get a ridiculous amount of joy from the smell of the apples (and pears) as they're pressed and the satisfaction of filling the freezer with our own juice (not to mention the drinking that sweet, sweet nectar). Which is just as well as it makes probably no financial or practical sense to press your own (and other people's) apples by hand when you can just take them along to a local musteri. But that's not the way we roll around here.
The same argument could be used against mushroom hunting - why spend hours rootling around in the forest when you can just buy them in the supermarket (where you can be sure they won't kill you)? But this is one of the things I love about Sweden - that most people here are still sufficiently closely connected to nature to get satisfaction from finding their own (free) food and pleasure just from being in the forest. And that many have the knowledge to find and identify edible mushrooms, even if it's just the trusty chanterelle.
Never a basket around when you need one
I'm proud to report that after four years of living here, we busted out of the 95% of people who "only" pick kantareller and can now fairly confidently identify other tasty fungi including Karl Johan (porcini), trattkantareller (funnel chanterelles), svart trumpetsvamp (Horn of Plenty) and blomkålsvamp (cauliflower mushroom), which looks like a bathroom sponge.
Fun fact: dried porcini have more protein than any other commonly eaten vegetable, except soybeans
Karl Johan, king of mushrooms
Trattisar (funnel chanterelles) drying
For the rest of the month I shall be mainly filling up the larder, and my senses, with the bounty and colours of autumn, to see me through the more monochrome months ahead.
*Not the palace where the Crown Princess lives, our (more modest) home is also called Haga