Preserving Wild Mushrooms


Drying

I use a biscuit tin (with a few holes in) with a 60W light bulb inside, on top of this I place an aluminum baking tin (for good heat transfer) on top of this I put the cleaned sliced mushrooms laid out on cake racks. You can place several racks on top of each other. After 24 - 36 hours you can put the partially dried slices in the baking tin for final drying. Store in air tight jars. I dry all my excess mushrooms this way including the wetter ones like oyster and birch bolletes.

thanks to John Hinton

Brine

	450g 	Mushrooms - firm, unbruised
	2tbsp	Salt
	150ml	Water - Hot
		Bay leaves
		Black Peppercorns
		Fresh Dill
		Whole Cloves

Place layer of mushrooms stem side up in a 2 litre storage jar. Sprinkle some of the salt and seasonings. Add another layer of mushrooms, and so on until they are all used up. Finally, pour over the hot water. Gently squeeze down the top layer of mushrooms with a small plate on which has been placed a heavy weight. Cap the jar. As the mushrooms will absorb some of the liquid it is necessary to check to see if the top layer have been exposed to the air, if so top up with more hot water.
Usable after a month.Ref 5

Freezing

I have picked literally tons of chanterelles (sometimes tons in a year- my cousin and I found one patch that yielded between 1200 and 1500 pounds a year between 1981 and 1987 when the timber company closed the area to the public).

As a commercial collector, I have used about every method that I could conceive to preserve mushrooms. I have been busy drying morels and spring cepes (Boletus pinicola and probably B. edulis at least and maybe a couple more species very similar in appearance) for the past three weeks.

I do dry some chanterelles which changes them into a completely different product than fresh or frozen chanterelles. I utilize their unique flavor and texture qualities in several recipes. The ratio of raw to dried product varies slightly with the location and the time of the season they are picked. I usually figure eight pounds of raw chanterelles equals one pound of dried.

My favorite method of chanterelle preservation is to individually quick freeze (IQF) them whole. Clean them and put them whole on a cookie sheet into the coldest part of your freezer. After they freeze, put them in a freezer bag for longer term storage. Don't put them all in a bag then freeze them as they solidify into a mass. If you keep them at temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit, they will last indefinitely. If your freezer doesn't go that low, they will be good for a couple of months at least. Some people parboil the mushrooms first but I like the texture of the fresh-frozen mushrooms better. Mine usually sell out within a couple months after the season ends. They may freezer burn within six or seven months but anyone that has that many shouldn't as the fresh season here in Oregon lasts about 6 months:-{d.

Rex Swartzendruber of
www.trufflezone.com