When I say get off the grid I do not mean I will go live in the woods and live just off the land, I will have technology and air conditioning, even a washing machine. What I want to do it have what I want and power it with solar power, water from a well and most of my food grown by me. Therefore I am reducing my cost of living per month as much as possible.
Learning to collect food that grows naturally is the best, its free and the only cost is putting it in jars.
After doing a years research I have decided its time for me to begin to preserve mushrooms that I have collected off my own land, Spring is the perfect time to collect mushrooms and preserve them for the whole year, if they last that long before getting cooked.
A few days ago while picking poke weed, aka poke salad, Tony found mushrooms that we have not seen or did not recall seeing, so he picked two small mushrooms and we brought them home to look them up. I personally love the guy that runs the YouTube videos at www.Learnyourland.com I have learned so much from him.
What Tony had found was Dryad`s saddle mushrooms and this is one of the best to pick for beginners because there is no other to confuse this one with. When I heard this I was thrilled so next I looked for blogs on cooking them, watched a few videos and combined all that knowledge. For the video about Dryad`s saddle click Here
One cook explained that she did not like the texture of the honeycomb spongy underside and I knew right away I would not either so I scrapped that off, easily with a knife. Another man showed to stick a fork into the mushrooms underside, if the fork goes through its what you want to eat, if it does not dehydrate that part to make powder for soups and stews. All of the people that knew about Dryad`s saddle said they tend to dry out cooking to add water to keep moist.
This is how I used their knowledge. I home canned a couple batches and I dried a couple batches.
Step One :
Clean the mushroom!
No one tells you around the tiny little bugs that are on all mushrooms. I treated them just as I would any green I picked from my garden. I filled the sink with cold water and added a whole bunch of salt. The salt kills the bugs. I allow them to soak for a good 15 minutes.
Next I pull the plug and let the salt water out and rinse them off.
I turn them upside down and I use a knife to scrap off the honeycomb pores. This comes off easy.
Then I slice chunks off, put them into a plate and I cut off the tough part and set aside. I cut the mushroom into small bite size pieces, what I would like in spaghetti or on my mushroom Swiss burgers and other dishes I use mushrooms in.
I then put them into a pot of water and cook them 10 minutes before home canning.
With the parts that the fork would not go through I take a very sharp knife and I slice it very thin and I put it on trays for the dehydrator. I dehydrate them on the jerky setting (165°) for 12 hours.
Step two :
Preserving the mushrooms.
Always first I sterilize my jars, I use half pint, and set them aside. I put new seals inside my lids. I prepare my pressure canner with hot water and a spoon of vinegar.
I cook the mushrooms for 10 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon I divide the mushrooms into 4 half pint jars (I guesstimated how many) and added enough liquid to one inch head space, added a pinch of canning salt and wiped the jar rim with a clean cloth. Applied a lid and put into the hot waiting pressure canner.
I processed the mushrooms for 30 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.
Making Mushroom powder
After I have dehydrated the tough parts of the dryad`s saddle mushroom I decided to make powder, I can add a spoonful to soup and stews for flavor, or even to gravies.
I simply put a hand full of broken up pieces into the grinder and let it go till it was powder, I allowed it to settle a minute before opening and doing it again. For me it took three times since I had three racks.
Label a ziploc bag, add the powder and roll the air out, seal. The store in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. This keeps all the moisture out.
That is how I have preserved my first Dryad`s saddle mushrooms. I hope you take the leap and try wild mushrooms as well.
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By Andria Perry
Photos By Andria Perry