Preserving Mushrooms (by Richard Nadeau)
Mushrooms can generally be preserved by drying, freezing, refrigeration, canning, salting or pickling
1. Dried mushrooms have 1/10th the weight of fresh mushrooms and can be rehydrated by soaking in wine or lightly salted or sweetened water. The problem with drying is that if the mushroom contains any worms, they will eat most of the mushroom before it has time to dry. To dry, slice and put on racks or screens under sun or low heat (such as pilot light in gas oven) or simply air dry. They are ready for storage in airtight containers or freezer when they snap when bent.
2. Freezing after slicing and lightly cooking in frying pan works with some mushrooms. Some mushrooms can be lightly cooked in boiling water with a dash of lemon juice for 3 to 5 minutes minutes before freezing.
3. Refrigerating is excellent and most mushrooms will keep about a week this way.
4. Canning is also an excellent way to process many of your mushrooms but be careful of botulism.
5. Pickling in oil and vinegar or wine is an excellent method. They should be Lightly fried in olive oil first or boiled in water for one minute with half a cup of lemon juice per 2 lbs of fresh mushrooms. Discard water and add boiled solution of vinegar and olive oil with pickling spice or other spice you like. I like a lot of garlic and little vinegar.
6. My method-of-choice ,because of the numerous benefits, is to pack fresh mushrooms in sea salt and cover. The salt forces any worm out into the brine liquids which develops. After a couple of days, drain the liquid and replace with more sea salt. Repeat after 3 or 4 days. Keep doing until almost no more liquid develops. The mushrooms can then be bagged in zip-lock bags and stored in the freezer in the salt. To reconstitute, simply soak mushroom in warm water, changing the water every few hours until mushrooms are not salty to the taste. To restore color, you can boil in equal amounts of lemon juice and water. The advantages are that it removes worms, affects the taste little, can be done with pails full of mushrooms at a time.
I'm not an expert on any aspect of mushrooms but will report some of the things which I have learned and tried as time goes on.
A few mushrooms can be eaten raw, such as the King Bolette, but most mushrooms should be cooked to alter their makeup for the greatest health and nutritive benefits. Cooking also neutralizes some of the toxins in some mushrooms.
My favorite method of preparing mushroom for the table is to cook them in a frying pan with a little olive oil and garlic.
I have tried making mushroom soups, dips, etc... but frankly have not found any recipe that I truly enjoyed.
Preparing this condiment has long since gone out of fashion. Most eighteenth-century English cookbooks inform the cook that "a tsp. will give a very fine flavour to any soup or gravy, or any sauce, and it is to be added just before serving." The black appearance and piquant taste reminds one of truffles and might deceive a gourmet. It deserves a revival.
1 lb. mushrooms
2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. gd cloves
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. mace
Wash mushrooms and put them in a stew pan (without water) with the onion powder, cloves, pepper, and mace. Simmer and shake until all the liquid has dried up, but be careful not to burn. Lay them on tins in a very slow oven (225 degrees.) until they are dry. Chop very fine. Store in a closed bottle and keep in a dry place. (Adapted from A New System of Domestic Cookery, 1808)
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