Saving the Season's Bounty

What’s it all about?

What does the act of preserving the season’s bounty mean to me? It means tasty things that I can enjoy all throughout the year. Everyone has tried some form of “preserved food”.  Everything from sourdough bread, raw-milk cheese, pickled vegetables, preserved fruits, jams, jellies, chutneys, wine, beer, smoked meats and even dried herbs — All of these are preserved foods, and that is only scratching the surface to a world of different varieties and flavors.

Canning, drying, freezing, fermenting, pickling, curing and smoking are all ways to enjoy the bounty of the farmers market for a long time to come. Fermented foods are especially great because most of them are chock full of healthy probiotics. Healthy, tasty and the ability to enjoy your favorite foods all year long? That sounds like a recipe for success.


Mushroom Conserva

Prep Time:10 to 15 minutes | Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes | Conserving Time:1 day | Special Equipment: Mason jar

Mushroom conserva is a fancy way of saying marinated mushrooms in vinaigrette. From spring to fall, the Hudson Valley is beaming with wild mushrooms. Conserving them at peak season allows you to enjoy them all year long. Always buy mushrooms from a local forager, such as James from Deep Forest Wild Edible if possible, as they have the knowledge and wisdom to know what is in season and when. This recipe uses chicken of the woods mushrooms. However, you can use almost any mushroom, including maitakes, chanterelles, morels, oyster mushrooms or even button mushrooms. It’s best to make this mushroom conserva at least one day in advance of serving.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. mushrooms of your choice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 pinch Piment d’Espelette (or chile flakes)
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil, enough to cover mushrooms in the pot

Step by Step

  1. Clean the mushrooms and cut into bite-sized pieces
  2. Combine the oil, herbs and Piment d’Espelette in a large sauce pot with enough room for the mushrooms
  3. Heat the mixture to 170F degrees
  4. Add mushrooms and stir
  5. Bring the temperature back up to 170F degrees and cook for 5 more minutes
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar and salt
  7. Cover the pot with a lid and let steep for 45 minutes
  8. Next, transfer the mushrooms and liquid to a covered storage container
  9. Store in the fridge for up to 2 months as long as the mushrooms are fully submerged in the oil. If you need to add more oil to keep the mushrooms, go right ahead. The oil as a seal to keep the mushrooms under “conserva”.