They’re springing up everywhere right now. Unlike last summer, which was extremely hot and dry, mushrooms have perfect conditions for growing this year. Warm weather and plenty of rain is what they like, so it’s no wonder that our forests are filling with mushrooms of all shapes and sizes.
I wasn’t planning for it, but when my husband had brought a sizeable batch of fleshy, aromatic chanterelles from his Saturday walk, I couldn’t resist the urge to have their golden caps preserved for colder months.
Chanterelle or kuriatko (as we call it in Slovakia) is a wild mushroom with a shiny orange colour and an unmistakable aroma. It grows in clusters from May until November and can be found in mossy places, in the grass or under leaves in our deciduous or coniferous forests.
Slovaks like to preserve it as a pickle, which is a popular accompaniment to many of our dishes.
Here’s a recipe for pickled chanterelles that I adapted from a Slovak website devoted to mushroom picking.
- a batch of chanterelles or ‘kuriatko’
- allspice, black peppercorns
- white vinegar
- Wash and dry jars of 700 ml volume capacity. Clean the mushrooms with a soft brush, a damp cloth or your finger. If it doesn’t remove all the forest debris, rinse them gently under a slow stream of water. Do not soak them, as mushrooms absorb a lot of water, which dulls their flavour.
- Break the larger pieces and start laying them in the dry jars. Use the smaller chanterelles to fill in the spaces between the bigger ones. Continue until you have filled up all the jars or used all the mushrooms.
- Stand the jars in a row on the table. In each one, put the pickling seasoning as follows: 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 2 allspice corns, 3 black peppercorns. If you’re using smaller jars, reduce the amount of the ingredients correspondingly.
- Add 75 ml white vinegar and fill with the water up to the grooves of the jar. Again, adjust the amount of the vinegar to your jar size.
- Shake gently to help spread the pickling mixture around the jar and get rid of air bubbles.
- Now screw on the lids and sterilize in a boiling water canner at 100ºC for 20 minutes. Store in a dark, cool place. Once opened, keep in the refrigerator and use within a week.