A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Wild mushrooms should not be canned, so I watch for sales on fresh mushrooms. My sister Judy tipped me off that mushrooms were on sale for $1.00 per carton at Silver Lake Foods in Rochester. I was already in Rochester, so off I went. I got 11 cartons of whole, fresh mushrooms and it made 11 half-pints of chopped mushrooms without using the stems (I save the stems for broth). That's half the cost of a can of Green Giant mushroom pieces & stems. Other brands may be cheaper, but usually from China. (I would never buy food products from China--their food and farming practices are too unhealthy and unsanitary.) FYI: the sale is on until Tues night, 6-14.
Note: I purchased 11 cartons because each makes a half-pint of mushrooms and 11 jars can be squeezed into my canner (with one sticking up, but that's okay). You may want to see how many half-pints fit your canner. Doing more than one batch of these at a time can be overwhelming in labor and time. I watch for more sales all through the summer, hopefully with different varieties of mushrooms (i.e. Baby Belles).
I give the mushrooms a water bath to remove dirt, rinse and drain. I pull the stems off and set them aside for broth. I cut the small mushrooms in fourths and the large ones in sixths. Put them in a pot on the stove and add water to cover about an inch or two above. Bring to a boil, then simmer 5 minutes. Drain off the water, but be sure to save it to add to the jars and the broth. Pack hot mushrooms into hot half-pint jars, adding the juice to 1/2" from top of jar. Use knife to remove air bubbles and add more juice if necessary. Seal and process at 10 lbs pressure for 45 minutes.
For the broth: (This recipe made about 17 cups broth.)
I coarsely chop the stems (to expose more surface area) and put them in a pot of a size so they fill at least half the pot. This ensures flavorful broth. I then covered with 4" of water and let it slowly simmer for a few hours. Remove the stems from the broth and add in the juice from simmering the mushrooms above. Cool completely and package in 1 cup portions for the freezer. I use sandwich bags and then put those in a gallon zip loc to save on cost. Be sure the broth is thoroughly cool or chilled or the bags will stick to each other. This broth makes a delicious difference when substituted for water in many things: wild rice, couscous, lentils, soups and stews, gravies, making or cooking pasta, homemade salad dressings, sauces...