Forest Mushrooms

Me and my sisters were visiting our mum this weekend and on Saturday we all went to forest to pick mushrooms. It hadn’t been raining lately, so many mushrooms were too dry, but we still got a nice loot. We picked a big basket full of mixed mushrooms, mostly gypsy mushrooms, rufous milk-caps and other milk-caps.

The big basket wasn’t big enough. Luckily we had a smaller basket too.

We also found fairly good amount of funnel chanterelles. 8 litres or so.

We were all very hungry when we came back from the forest and we made bean and vegetable curry for lunch. When we had our stomachs full, we started working with the mushrooms. We decided to dehydrate all the funnel chanterelles, salt the milk caps and eat the rest. When we had filled two dehydrators (my mum has one and I had brought mine with me) with mushrooms and cleaned and cut in smaller pieces one third of other mushrooms I went to kitchen to boil the milk-caps and bake us a mushroom pie. Meanwhile my sisters cleaned the rest of the mushrooms. I didn’t measure everything and I don’t know how long I baked the pie, but here’s the recipe anyway. Our pie was made of mixed mushrooms, but you can use only one variety too.

Mushroom Pie

100g margarine + little more to grease the dish
1 dl graham flour
2 dl wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cold water

1,5 l musrooms
2 tbsp margarine or oil
1 small/medium onion, chopped
2 dl oat (or soy) cream
pinch of salt and white pepper

Make the crust first. Put the margarine, graham and wheat flour and baking powder into a bowl and crumble with your hand. Add enough water to form a dough, mix well but don’t knead. Grease a pie dish and spread the dough in it. Prebake in 200 Celsius degrees for 10 minutes.

Put the mushrooms into a large pan and heat until the liquid comes out from the mushrooms. You can either discard the liquid or continue heating until it’s evaporated. Add the margarine, let it melt and add the chopped onion. Fry until the onion is soft and translucent. Add oat cram and season with salt and pepper. Spread the filling on the prebaked crust and bake until the surface has nice brown colour (20-30 minutes maybe?). Let cool a little before serving.

The dried funnel chanterelles fitted in 6 glass jars, so each of us got 2 jars. Our mum didn’t get any, because she can’t eat mushrooms. But she did pick some inedible mushrooms for her, because she uses them to dye wool yarn.

Harvesting And Pickling

Yesterday I posted some photos from our garden. Here’s something that has grown there: a big zucchini, a small yellow summer squash, kohlrabi and snow peas. Kohlrabis are still a bit small, but we took them to make more room for others to grow. Some zucchini, kohlrabis and handful of snow peas were stir fried with some cauliflower, carrots, onions and beans.

We also found a lot of cucumbers. Since we were away for a week, some of them had grown too big.  Here they are on our kitchen table, sorted by variety and size. I don’t know English names for the cucumbers, but in front is Favör II WW, left pile is the good cucumbers and right taste-before-using. Behind them is Reinin Rypäle, sorted by size the same way. In the back are the oversized ones that can’t be eaten.

I used one inedible cucumber to make serving bowl for cucumber relish. Some of the good cucumbers were eaten fresh in salads, but most of them were pickled.

The recipe makes one 5l bucket of sliced pickles. I often slice my cucumbers before pickling, because then you can fit more of them in one jar. If you prefer pickling whole cucumbers, poke some holes on them first to make sure the liquid goes inside the cucumbers too and they won’t become soft and icky. You may also need to make more liquid, because there will be more empty space in your jar.

Pickled Cucumbers

cucumbers (4,5l when sliced)
10 thin horseradish slices
big bunch of dill (few long stalks with the flowers)
6 garlic cloves or some chili slices (optional)
black currant or oak leaves, if available

2 l water
4 dl sugar
6 dl distilled vinegar
2 tblsp salt
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp black pepper corns

Before slicing the cucumbers, soak them in cold water at least half an hour, few hours is good. Brush them to remove the little spikes. Slice.

Use a plastic bucket with a lid or few big glass jars. Put a thick layer of cucumbers into a bucket/jar and put a layer of leaves (if you have), some horseradish, dill and garlic/chili (if using). Continue making layers until all the cucumbers are used. Put currant leaves and dill on top.

Mix water, sugar, salt, mustard seeds and peppercorns in a pot and boil 5-10 minutes. Add vinegar, bring to boil again and pour on the cucumbers. The liquid should cover all the cucumbers, but if it doesn’t you have to make a little more. Close the lids, let cool and keep in cold place at least three weeks before serving.

Canning Season 2010 Has Started

If you have too many cucumbers, preserve some of them. Or if you find cheap cucumbers, buy some to make relish. Relishes and pickles are easy to make and they taste good during the long winter months when the cucumbers in the shops are expensive and bad quality. I used slicing cucumbers, but I think pickling cucumbers would be just as good too. You can also make zucchini relish with this recipe, just use 1 kg zucchini instead of cucumbers.

Cucumber Relish

1 kg cucumbers
1 bell pepper
2 onions
2 medium hot chili pods, deseeded (or to taste)
4 tbsp chopped dill
2 dl distilled vinegar
2 dl sugar
4 dl water
2 tsp salt
2 tsp green peppercorns

Grate the cucumbers coarsely (or dice small), chop the onions, dice bell pepper and mince chilies. Combine in a bowl with dill. Mix vinegar, sugar, water, salt and peppercorns in a pot. Put on stove, turn the heat on and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Bring to boil, lower the heat and slowly boil about 5 minutes. Put the cucumber mixture into clean glass jars and pour the hot liquid on them. Make sure there are some peppercorns in each jar. Close lids, let cool and store in cellar or fridge. Let sit at least few days, preferably couple of weeks, before serving.