Let Me Tell You about a Fungi I Know..
Okay, I know that’s a terrible pun to open this blog post with, and I’ll probably wake in the night haunted by the groan of readers as they stumble upon the travesty that is my opening heading, but ce la vie! Seriously though, mushrooms have finally started to get some good traction in the health/power food markets and deservedly so.
Mushrooms play a hugely important part in our ecosystems by returning nutrients to the soil for plants to use which is amazing in itself. Ongoing studies have also begun to uncover and confirm potential benefits to the human body. Below is a quote from the Mushroom Council (yeah…seriously, there’s such a thing as The Mushroom Council, what a time to live in amiright?).
What The Experts Say
“Some preclinical and clinical studies suggest impacts of mushrooms on cognition, weight management, oral health, and cancer risk. Preliminary evidence suggests that mushrooms may support healthy immune and inflammatory responses through interaction with the gut microbiota, enhancing development of adaptive immunity, and improved immune cell functionality”Feeney MJ, Dwyer J, Hasler-Lewis CM, et al. Mushrooms and Health Summit proceedings. J Nutr. 2014;144(7):1128S-36S. doi:10.3945/jn.114.190728
So mushrooms might be, or already are, the next big tool to help make people live longer and better lives. All this from something that grows right underneath our feet (or more accurately, under a log in the backyard).
But I don’t like Mushrooms…
That’s okay, than this is not the recipe for you probably. I would encourage you to at least try some of the amazing varieties that have started to crop up in the local chain grocery stores. Portabella, Shitake and White Button mushrooms are fairly common household names but more and more specialty varieties are making their way mainstream and they all come with some subtle nuances of flavor.
You may find the nutty buttery taste of acorn mushrooms is right up your alley. The texture and flavor of a Lion’s Mane is often compared to that of crab or lobster (it’s totally a thing, I promise). I’m not saying you have to go all in on mushrooms. If it’s texture thing there may be no hope for you. Just keep in mind not every mushroom tastes the same but we are getting more and more chances to try new types so you may yet find one that you fall in love with.
Selecting Mushrooms for Canning
The big thing when it comes to canning your own mushrooms is you must use domestic mushrooms from the grocery store (or a reputable vender/farmer) for this recipe. I’ll say it again, DO NOT go out and forage for mushrooms. The process of pressure canning will not make them okay to eat.
Firstly, mushrooms can be poisonous, and there are a five look-a-likes out there for every one mushroom that you can safely eat. Secondly, you have no idea where that foraged mushroom has been. Mushrooms live on and eat dead matter, and although that’s great for the environment, they aren’t always picky about what dead matter they might be decomposing.
What Is A Domestic Mushroom?
Domestic mushrooms are grown in special mediums, under controlled conditions, and carefully monitored by fungiculturists who know what they are doing. Also, there’s like a 0% chance you’ll be poisoned, which is a huge plus in my opinion.
If your going to pressure can some mushrooms, look for ones that have a good even color, little to no bruising and have a tight cap. Small to medium mushrooms work best, but you can slice larger ones into chunks or slices and can them up that way.
The second biggest thing has do with cleaning your mushrooms. Even the most finicky of fungi farmers can’t prevent bits of dirt from clinging to their mushrooms, so a little extra effort is necessary to get our mushrooms pressure canner ready. It doesn’t require much more than a good soak in some cold water and using your fingers to remove any spots of dirt you find, but its a critical step to ensure the end result is shelf stable. No one wants to end up eating chicken with mushroom gravy and a side of grit between your teeth.
Ready to give it try, great! The detailed recipe is down below. Original source of the recipe is from the National Center for Home Food Preservation linked here.
More of a visual learner? I got you covered! Check out my Youtube channel where I bring you along through the whole process of canning up a batch of mushrooms, click below!
Makes: ~ 14 Half Pint jars, 6 Pints, 3 Quarts
Ingredients and Equipment
5-6 pounds Domestic (from the grocery store) Mushrooms
Sharp Paring Knife
Glass Mason Jars, ring bands and fresh clean lids
Large Pot for Boiling Water
Canning utensils – Funnel, Jar Holder
Small amount of White Vinegar
(Optional) – Canning Salt
Prepare the Jars
Follow the directions for your pressure canner and fill with the appropriate amount of water, mine says to fill with ~ 2 inches of water. Add a splash of white vinegar to the water to keep scale from building up on your canner and jars. Set over high heat, and place clean glass jars into the canner.
Cover with the lid (you don’t have to seal all the way) and allow jars to sanitize/warm up while you prepare your mushrooms.
You will also need to fill a second large pot halfway with water and set on medium heat. This will be for quickly cooking our mushrooms just prior to canning.
Trim the stem of each mushroom before placing into a sink filled with cold water.
Agitate gently and rub any visible dirt off the caps and stems.
Drain the sink and rinse the mushrooms with fresh water before removing from sink back onto cutting board.
If you have small mushrooms that will fit in your jar you can process them whole. But if your mushrooms are larger or you would prefer slices or chunks go ahead and chop them as desired.
Turn your pot of simmering water on high to bring to a boil, if it is not already boiling.
Place your mushroom into the pot of clean boiling water and leave for 4-5 minutes until heated through.
While your mushrooms simmer, remove hot jars from pressure canner and set onto clean dishtowel covered cutting board.
Using a slotted spoon and the canning funnel, spoon your mushrooms into each jar. Mushrooms like to float so you may want to use a clean spatula to gently pack them down a little. Make sure to leave 1″ of headspace.
Top up each jar with fresh boiling water (do not use the water from the large pot where you simmered your mushrooms, this should be fresh boiling water.) I typically just use a tea kettle to boil a small batch of water and this is plenty to do all my jars.
Using a long thin chopstick or spoon handle, work any trapped air bubbles out. You can also gently tap the jars on the board to help remove bubbles.
Take a clean kitchen towel of paper towel dipped in white vinegar and wipe all the way around the rim of each jar.
Center lid on top of jar and tighten metal band to fingertip tight.
Repeat for all the other jars, placing each filled jar into the pressure canner when done.
Once all your jars are filled, turn pressure canner burner up to high and follow the directions for safely sealing your pressure canner.
Process the mushrooms at 11lbs (dial gauge) of pressure for 45 minutes. For other altitudes or jar sizes see the chart linked here on the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s website.
Once the 45 minutes is up, turn off the heat and allow your pressure canner to return to room pressure on its own.
When the dial is back to zero you can safely remove your pressure canner lid and take out your freshly canned mushrooms. Place them onto the cloth covered cutting board to cool.
The jars should start to seal within a few minutes up to overnight. Test the seal the next day by pressing on the middle of the metal top. If it does not flex your mushrooms have been safely canned!
Label and store up to a year in a cool dry place and Enjoy!