Keeping The Fruits Of Your Labor
So, you have managed to grow, buy or forage more awesome edible mushrooms than you can eat. Well done! Instead of letting them rot in the drawer of your fridge, or giving them away to friends too lazy to get their own, I would suggest preserving them in any of the following great ways so that you can enjoy your bounty whenever you get the whim:
Most mushrooms dry very well, with the exception of some of the more delicate species like Cauliflower mushroom (Sparissus sp.), Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus), et al. Dried mushrooms can be added to soups and stews as is, or rehydrated in water, broth or my favorite, wine, and added to any number of recipes. Dry in a food dehydrator on a medium to high setting until cracker dry.
Once dry, you can toss them into a coffee grinder and pulse to a fine or coarse powder, depending on your preference. This powder can be used as a spice and otherwise makes a wonderful addition to a wide variety of dishes. The umami quality of many mushrooms serves to enhance other flavors without the addition of salt in soups, stews, meatloaf, meatballs, hamburgers, all kinds of pasta dishes, even as a healthful savory tea. So many possibilities!
Pickled mushrooms are very popular in eastern Europe, and are a great way to preserve many of the more robust species. This works best with King Oyster, Maitake, Chanterelles, Hedgehogs, Boletes, Nameko and Pioppino. More delicate species do not hold up as well. For pickling recipes, go here.
Unfortunately, there are very few mushroom species that do well in the freezer. Exceptions to this would be Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sp.) and Hen of the woods, Maitake (Grifola frondosa). These can be either sliced or left whole and frozen fresh for a few months and be okay. All other species you will want to parboil, with added salt, before freezing.
This is a wonderful and easy to make product that you can store in your freezer almost indefinitely. It is, simply, a preparation of finely minced mushrooms sautéed with onions, shallots, garlic, white wine, and herbs. There are so many uses, highly recommended. For a recipe, go here.