When you read about preserving milkcap mushrooms, you might read about salting, fermenting or brining, which if you’re not already an intrepid experimenter can sound like some strange wizardry.
One of my favorite things to do with mushrooms is to pickle them, after which I add them to salads, stir fries, and whatever else I want, they’re not something I generally serve cold, rather pickling is the best way to keep the texture of fresh mushrooms.
I use the pickles just like I would fresh, taking into account the fact that they will have a little bit of a bite, which can be just what the doctor ordered sometimes.
Pickling saffron milk caps, also known as niscalos or rovellones in Spain, is also traditional. When my little sister studied abroad in Catalonia, she and her host mother went out to pick wild mushrooms to pickle, and they sent me a recipe. I adapted it a bit here, so feel free to adjust the seasonings to your taste.
Pickled Milkcap Mushrooms
Great with a plate of cured meat, heated up in a butter sauce, sauteed and put on a steak-pickled mushrooms are more than something to eat cold.
If you’ve ever pickled mushrooms before, you’ll notice a variation in the technique here. The mushrooms are first blanched in salted water, the reason being that milkcap mushrooms will give off slimy mucilage when pickled in their own juice, as do honey mushrooms. Blanching them before canning and pickling reduces the mucilage so your pickles aren’t slimy.
Makes 5 pint jar full of pickles
- 5 lb young saffron milkcaps
- 1 gallon salted water + 5 cups water
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 5 tsp salt
- A few small sprigs of hard herbs the length of your thumb: rosemary, thyme, sage, or summer savory would be great.
- A few cloves of garlic, crushed lightly
- In a large stock pot, bring the gallon of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, blanch the mushrooms until just wilted, about 2 minutes per batch, then remove, cool, and reserve.
- In a small stock pot, bring the water, salt, garlic and herbs to a simmer for a few minutes, then add the vinegar.
- Pack pint canning jars full of the mushrooms, then pour the pickle liquid over the mushrooms and fill the jars leaving 1/2 an inch of headspace, then process the jars in a waterbath canner for 15 minutes.