In 2014, some 2,511 Danes called the ‘giftlinjen’ (a hotline for cases of poisoning) at Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen because they felt sick after eating plants or mushrooms picked in the Danish countryside.
Food foraging has become very popular in Denmark since Noma started using wild plants and mushrooms in its acclaimed recipes.
Inspired by new Nordic cuisine trends
According to a food sociologist, Jon Fulgsang, a growing number of Danes go to the woods to look for edible plants because they feel inspired by the latest trends of the New Nordic cuisine presented on TV.
“Many do not realise that the Danish countryside also offers many risks,” Fuglsang told TV2.
Fuglsang suggests people focus on adding just one new plant to their recipes at a time or “else it may all go wrong” if they try to bring the entire forest back home.
Beware the wild garlic look-alike
Niels Ebbehøj, the chief doctor at giftlinjen, warned that all wild food enthusiasts need to be particularly wary of a plant commonly called the autumn crocus.
“In autumn, it looks like a purple crocus, but now it looks like the popular wild garlic. It is very toxic and one can even die. Luckily, it has not happened yet. But it could easily happen if you pick a handful and make a pesto out of it,” Ebbehøj noted.