Freezing, stewing, frying, pickling or drying – these methods guarantee that the mushrooms will stay fresh. Otherwise they would surely rot and all the effort of picking them would go to waste.
Mushrooms are seasonal products that grow when there is no drought and humidity is high. There is a reason they are said to “grow like mushrooms after the rain”. It is this rain that they so need.
Before mushrooming, however, you should carefully study mushroom species, especially poisonous ones, to avoid them by a wide margin. Most edible species ripen between August and October, although you can still find good specimens until the end of November.
However, you should remember that mushrooms spoil quickly, so you should know not only which ones you can pick, but also how to store them. We suggest how to handle them so that they remain fresh for a long time and do not rot.
Fresh mushrooms? Only for one day
Experienced mushroom pickers know that mushrooms are fresh only for 24 hours after picking and only if they are stored in a low temperature, i.e. in the refrigerator.
In addition, this time is also reduced proportionally to the size of the mushroom – the longer it is, the shorter its storage will be. The most durable are small mushrooms. However, all of them require processing as soon as possible.
The most popular method of storing fresh mushrooms is freezing them. However, it is worth remembering that we do not put them in the freezer without prior preparation. What should you do? First of all, rinse with cold water, scald with boiling water, that is blanch, and then cool down and only freeze.
Chanterelles and boletes should be blanched (they should be additionally boiled to avoid bitter taste after defrosting), while bay bolete, boletus, chanterelles and butternut squash can be frozen raw. It is best to put the mushrooms on the freezer shelf first, and then pack them into a container or bag and label them with the name and date. Frozen mushrooms can be stored this way for up to six months, but they are best eaten within 1-2 months. They are great as a tasty addition to sauces, soups, pasta, meat, dumplings or pizza. Plus, there’s no need to defrost them before throwing them in the pan.
Another proven method is heat treatment. Mushrooms can be stewed or fried in butter. Some of them are worth eating right away, but you can easily prepare a larger portion. Then you just need to cool them down and put into a jar. This way you can store them even for a few days.
Moreover, mushrooms stewed in butter are also suitable for freezing. Here, however, you need to remember to put them in another container, as you cannot freeze products in glass vessels.
Marinated mushrooms are a popular snack in Polish cuisine. Very often they appear on the table – accompanied by gherkins, during parties or holidays. They are also a delicious addition to salads or sauces. Porcini, boletes, butternut squash, boletus, chanterelles and many other species can be marinated.
Mushroom preserves are best consumed within a year of closing the jar. Moreover, you should keep them away from oven or heater; high temperature has bad influence on them. It is best to put them in a pantry, cellar or a regular kitchen cupboard.
Finally, there is the drying of the mushrooms. This can be done in several ways – in the sun (which in October and November is difficult), in the oven, using a special dryer (for mushrooms, vegetables and fruits) or simply by hanging them on threads or spreading them on a cloth.
Which mushrooms are best for drying? Mostly boletes, bay boletes and chanterelles – well dried they are flexible and break easily. However, you should first clean them thoroughly of any dust and sand, but without using water.
Dried mushrooms have the longest shelf life – even up to 3 years, if they will be in a dry and dark place for that time. It is worth putting them in vacuum bags or jars, for example. They are perfect for Christmas Eve cabbage and dumplings, but also for various soups, sauces, pizza and other dishes.