Elemental Eating

Preserves: Quick Pickled Maitake Mushrooms

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Lately I have been feeling like a little squirrel collecting nuts and saving them for the upcoming winter season. Every time my partner Chris or I see a local farm stand, we quickly pull over to see what goodies we can save to enjoy later. So far we have hung peppers to dry, dehydrated persimmons, and most recently we have been “quick” pickling like crazy.

dehydrated persimmons.

Persimmons take on a much sweeter flavor when dried and are a delicious mid-day treat.

Around this same time, Sarah brought over a HUGE bag of maitake mushrooms from Gourmet Mushroom Inc, here in Sebastopol, and Chris brought over pounds of okra, pickles, and peppers. So we all thought, what can we do with this abundance….pickle! We love the ritual of preserving because it reminds us of our ancestors, and how every bit of abundance was honored.

quick pickles

Traditionally, many mushrooms are heated to extract their therapeutic properties, so not only is this quick pickle recipe ridiculously simple, it is also the perfect combination of taste + healing.

Maitake, also known as “the magnificent dancing mushroom”, has been wild harvested and used in foods for thousands of years. The Japanese pioneered the cultivation of this mushroom, but it can also be found growing in temperate hardwood forests growing up to 50 pounds! This mushroom is known for its ability to modulate glucose levels (which helps in type 2 diabetes prevention), its immune boosting properties, and for its support during cancer treatments.

If you want to learn even more about the healing powers of mushrooms, be sure to watch mushroom guru Paul Staments’ TED talk on 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World.

Or, you might like this book to familiarize yourself with mushroom identification.

2010-08-19 14.23.29pickled mushrooms

INGREDIENTS

for the brine…

8 cloves of garlic

2 cups of vinegar

6 tsp of kosher salt

1 tbs brown sugar

for the pickles…

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp black peppercorns

a few sprigs of fresh dil

METHOD

Pour 4 cups of water into a pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce it to a simmer, and then add in your garlic. Cook for about five minutes and then add in you vinegar, sugar, and salt. Return the mixture to a boil to dissolve, then turn off.

You can make more or less of this mixture depending on how many mason jars you want to fill. As long as the ratio is 2:1 water to vinegar you can add as many fresh veggies or mushrooms you like, and try getting creative with the spices! This specific recipe will fill about 2 quart sized mason jars.

Divide your herbs and spices between your jars, and then pack your mushrooms in as tight as possible. Then pour in the brine, and seal your jars. These quick pickles should be labeled with a date, and can be stored in the fridge for a couple months. You can start eating (or devouring) these tasty pickles in just a couple of hours! These maitake pickles taste great with some feta, olive oil, and herbs over sourdough.

mushroom bread

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