The harvesting season for harvesting and processing mushrooms is quite long, especially if you are an "advanced" mushroom picker who collects not only August-March species. It lasts starting from early spring (morels) and ending in late autumn (butterfly, porcini mushrooms, mushrooms, etc.), and even in winter (mushrooms, winter mushroom). This means that we should collect and process them in such a way that they will last
The harvesting season for harvesting and processing mushrooms is quite long, especially if you are an "advanced" mushroom picker who collects not only August-March species. It lasts starting from early spring (morels) and ending in late autumn (buttermilk, mushrooms, mushrooms, etc.), and even in winter (mushrooms, winter mushroom ). When collecting mushrooms for preparations, you need to understand that we want to preserve them as long as possible, preferably all winter and even part of spring. This means that we should not only process them in such a way that they retain their "commercial appearance" and taste as long as possible, but already when harvesting , we should give preference to the youngest and strongest mushrooms , which have a much higher potential. Younga mushroom that has hatched from the soil for 2-3 days already contains all the organic substances and trace elements embedded in it by nature, and even an almost unchanged number of cells. What we call the further growth of the mushroom is not actually growth, but the stretching of the cells under the action of water supplied under pressure to the fruiting body by the mushroom pump. Thus, even the youngest mushroom is almost completely "equipped" with everything necessary for frying, drying, and salting-pickling, and it is especially good because there is nothing extra, no water in it (both directly and figuratively values). That is why young mushrooms with still unopened caps are valued by mushroom pickers (albeit often and subconsciously, but correctly) more than anything else. Old and decrepit mushrooms are not only unaesthetic, but can also pose a danger to human health, which will be discussed below.
The smallest requirements apply to mushrooms intended for pickling and drying. During pickling, the natural taste of mushrooms is almost completely lost, replaced by the taste of the marinade and determined by the amount of vinegar, sugar and types of spices used. Of course, young and springy butternut squash or crunchy raw butternut squash "on the tooth" will be perceived better than old, slippery and stale ones, but their taste will be almost the same, and in a salad of marinated mushrooms , the difference cannot be detected at all. When drying, even very old, already "wet" (the main thing is that they are not wormy) mushrooms can be "extracted" by prolonged soft processingin the dryer (just be careful not to burn), and in the soup they will behave quite decently. Of course, again, they will be inferior to young "crackers" in terms of taste and aroma, but after adding sour cream, this difference is also practically canceled. Nevertheless, it is worth remembering one rule: you should approach mushrooms , which are collected for preparation, with more demandingness than mushrooms , which are collected for today's or tomorrow's soup or frying. This will necessarily lead to an increase in the shelf life of the finished product with proper processing .
We should also talk about purchased mushrooms , which we buy in a store, at the bazaar or on the highway on the way home.
In theory, buying mushrooms from a store is the most reliable way to get a quality product. Ideally, such fresh mushrooms should meet all sanitary requirements. You can also buy frozen mushrooms (champignons or winter mushrooms), which will be much cheaper.
When buying fresh mushrooms on the market, you need to be extremely attentive and careful. If possible, you should buy mushrooms from verified sellers, in order to be sure that the mushrooms were collected in a forest far enough away from big cities, "dirty" enterprises and highways, otherwise such a purchase can turn into Russian roulette. First of all, this applies to mushrooms bought on the highway, because few people know whether they were collected near the same highway?
Be sure to examine and feel the mushrooms before buying, make sure they are fresh. Fresh, young tubular mushrooms and chanterelles have a characteristic density, strength and slight crunch (but not brittleness). Don't forget to smell the mushrooms before you buy them. Fresh, recently picked mushrooms will have a pronounced mushroom aroma mixed with the smell of the forest, leaves or needles and a little earth. If the proposed mushrooms seem too soft and stale, or, on the contrary, dried up, if their smell has ceased to be pleasant, refuse such a purchase. A delicious dish made from such mushroomsit will not be possible to cook. Another trick used by irresponsible sellers is the introduction of wormy whites or sycamores. The fact is that insect larvae usually penetrate these mushrooms through the base of the stem, which is immersed in the soil, without damaging the skin. Sellers have learned to clean the legs in such a way that an undamaged layer of skin remains on the outside, and a small piece of earth ("root") is left underneath, which masks the "entrance" of the larvae. At the same time, the pulp inside may be completely eaten. Usually, it is enough to make a very small notch in the stem to reveal the worminess.
The fact that the mushrooms are brought from the forest or the store deserves additional attention , because it is from the moment of collection or purchase, and not at all from the shell, that their path to our table begins. This is not so important if the mushrooms are bought in a store - they are usually securely packed there, but it is not worth going to the forest with bags and plastic bags, otherwise it is quite likely that you will bring home mushroom caviar, especially if it is fragile raw mushrooms. The container for collecting mushrooms can be any, but it must be solid: a basket, a bucket, a box. It is best to line the bottom of the container with a layer of dry soft grass or fern leaves. A ventilated container (basket or wicker box) is always better than a solid container (plastic bucket). Due to the property of quick self-heatingmushrooms in a non-ventilated container steam, sour and, most importantly, become wormy and moldy very quickly, especially in warm, humid weather and during the long journey home. A full basket or box of mushrooms is very easy to carry on your back in a backpack, but you should keep the backpack open. Some mushrooms should be cleaned of debris directly at the time of collection , in order to free yourself from unnecessary trouble during processing . Neat mushroom pickers go to the forest with a Chinese brush knife, which has an opening blade on one side and a brush brush for brushing off the mushroom on the otherforest litter. Large umbrellas should also be plucked carefully, without turning the hat upside down, because in this case the earth and sand from the base of the leg will be poured onto the plates, and it will be very difficult to wash them later. And in general, it is better to cut the leg shorter for any mushrooms that will be harvested, so that you don't have to bother cleaning them again at home.
Each mushroom has its own culinary characteristics and advantages. For example, porcini mushrooms are best dried. Also, black chanterelles are good for drying, the powder of which makes excellent sauces, or autumn mushrooms, which, when soaked, become an excellent pie filling. And ryzhyki are best salted fresh and without spices. Each mushroom has its own advantages for the preparation method, but all of them must be equally correctly pre-processed and prepared for further culinary manipulations.
Home processing of mushrooms immediately after returning from the forest is a mandatory stage in the culture of actions of a competent mushroom picker. Often it is at this stage, and not in the forest, that dangerous or simply suspicious species are cut down. At the slightest doubt, a suspicious mushroom must be thrown away during processing .
Fresh mushrooms cannot be stored for a long time. It is best to process them immediately after collection or purchase. Wash the mushrooms in cool water, cut or clean the lower part of the leg, and cut the large mushrooms into pieces and start preparing the preparation of your choice. If for any reason you cannot process the mushrooms right away, then carefully shake off the remaining earth and forest debris from them (but do not wash), put them in a paper bag and put them in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. But remember that even after such preparations, mushrooms should be storedit is possible no more than one and a half days, the optimal storage time is 6-8 hours. The fact is that the temperature of such temporary storage is the main factor for how long mushrooms can lie without losing much in quality. The reduction in the density of the fruiting body (due to evaporation of water) begins immediately after you separate the mushroom from the mycelium (cut from the soil or tree). If you did it in hot weather, or the mushrooms at home are not in the refrigerator, this leads to an increase in the activity of enzyme systems and the intensity of respiration, which in turn causes significant changes in the complex of nitrogenous substances, a decrease in the amount of carbohydrates in the tissues of the mushroomand rapid deterioration of taste and smell. In addition, the higher and longer the storage temperature, the faster insect larvae develop in mushrooms .
By the way, about the larvae. You should not expel "mushroom worms" from mushrooms , which turned out to be worms, with salt water. By themselves, they do not pose a significant threat, a protein is a protein, but the products of their metabolism are not removed by salt water, and can also cause intoxication. Careful cleaning of mushrooms significantly reduces the risk of occurrence of a terrible disease - botulism.
As a result of processing , suspicious, dubious, old, diseased or wormy mushrooms should be sent to the trash , that is, it is worth calmly correcting all the mistakes made in the forest during the exciting mass collection .
In order to simplify washing and cleaning as much as possible, mushrooms are placed in a bucket, basin or sink and filled with water. Mushrooms are lighter than water and float to the top. Therefore, so that all fruiting bodies are submerged, you need to put plywood, a lid or a large plate with a small load on top so that the mushrooms are covered with water. After a few minutes of such soaking, all the forest debris stuck to the mushrooms will become wet and will be easily removed when cleaning. Of course, mushrooms intended for drying or dry salting should not be soaked. You should not keep mushrooms in water for a long time, because the water will actively soak up the caps, especially if these mushroomstubular and not very young. Exceptions are large morels, which are placed in warm water for half an hour or more, firstly, to facilitate cleaning from the sand that constantly accompanies them, and secondly, to expel snails, slugs, weevils and millipedes from the numerous folds. For large lamellar mushrooms , a more careful approach is necessary, since various forest debris is often jammed between the lamellae, and the fragility of the lamellae does not allow them to be cleaned quickly and vigorously. Mushrooms that go for drying or dry pickling are not washed before cleaning, but, on the contrary, they are first cleaned (the base of the leg is cut, damaged areas are cut out, forest debris is removed), and then they are wiped with a damp cloth.
After soaking the mushrooms , they begin to clean them. If you still cut off the base of the stem in the forest or collected only the caps, cleaning is reduced to cleaning the attached leaves, blades of grass and needles with a knife, as well as the contaminated parts of the stem. If the mushrooms were collected "as is", you should cut off the base of the legs in small ones, and separate the legs from the caps in large ones. This is of particular importance for species with thick and dense legs (white, plantain), in which it often makes sense to boil the legs separately from the caps before canning - due to their high density, it is necessary to cook them longer. At this moment, you can "beautify", that is, carefully cut out the diseased places or trim the legs with a knife, giving them an aesthetic appearance, so that the mushrooms in the jar look more pleasant.
According to the historical tradition, it is customary to peel the skin from the caps of raw corn and buttermilk. At least in mushroom farms, they still do it this way. In the case of raw corns, it is not necessary to do this at all, such an operation can be considered as an alternative to soaking and scraping off the garbage with a knife. Of course, it's easier that way - I removed the skin along with everything extra, and the hat is clean. The skin of buttercups is not only sticky and slippery, but also dark when processed , making the appearance of these mushrooms in a jar not very attractive. There is also a useful point here - together with the skin, we remove the surface layer of potential chemical pollution, obtained by mushrooms together with precipitation. However, this operation is quite time-consuming and long, and if you do not plan to donate mushroomsto further points of sale, in principle, is optional, especially if you need to process a large number of mushrooms . Also, the fact that the skin on the fingers and under the nails turns black, and it washes off after 2-4 days, is not in favor of cleaning buttermilk from the skin. Since it is very difficult to remove the skin with gloves, there is only one radical remedy to get rid of unwanted blackness under the nails. To do this, before starting the processing of buttermilk, you need to generously scrape the surface of coarse laundry soap with your nails. Remaining under the nails, it will protect the skin from staining. And it will not be difficult to wash such soap off the nails with a brush after cleaning the mushrooms .
In general, it is worth remembering that both during soaking and during washing and cleaning, mushrooms lose their taste. Therefore, it is desirable to have time to do it in 10 minutes, while you can change the water several times. If there are a lot of mushrooms , it is better to divide their soaking and cleaning into portions. In general, ideal washing is carried out under running water, under a stream from the tap. But sometimes it can be very expensive.
After processing, mushrooms intended for drying, cold salting without prior soaking or blanching, dry salting and freezing in fresh form are ready for cooking; mushrooms , which will be salted with preliminary soaking, are sent to special containers with water; the same types, for which one or another heat treatment is expected for future preparations , are put in a pan for boiling in their own juice, water or marinade, or for blanching.
Soaking is another stage of preliminary preparation of mushrooms for preservation, usually before cold pickling or pickling. Usually only milky cartilages and some bitter russets are soaked. Soaking (from several hours to 10 days) with regular water changes allows you to get rid of the bitterness contained in the pulp. Mushrooms are soaked in a dark, cool place. Adding salt to soaked mushrooms gives very good results - about 3% of their weight. There is no consensus on the required duration of soaking. It all depends on the type of mushrooms and the traditions of one or another region.
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The kitchen equipment needed for mushroom preparations can be conditionally divided into 3 small groups. The first will include tools used for pre-culinary processing — cleaning, washing, pre-slicing, etc.; to the second - a variety of kitchen utensils, in which heat treatment , soaking, grinding and other culinary operations take place; in the third - a container in which the blanks are finally placed for long-term storage. In some cases, there is no second stage of processing , and therefore no second group of kitchen equipment, for example, when during cold salting, after cleaning, mushrooms are immediately placed in containers without heat treatment .
So, for the pre-culinary processing of mushrooms , we may need: a knife, brushes, a deep basin for washing very dirty mushrooms , a board for pre-slicing.
For direct culinary processing, you will need: containers for soaking (basin, large saucepan), knives, forks and spoons (table, dessert, tea), dishes for heat treatment of products (steaming, frying and stewing), a large saucepan for blanching and sterilization, a colander, a skimmer, a metal sieve, a set of graters, a meat grinder, a blender, a food processor, scales, a measuring cup, a thermometer.
To work with containers, you will need a manual rolling machine and tongs for grabbing cans during sterilization. And now about the container itself.
Mushrooms for cold and dry pickling are ideally prepared in wooden barrels. The same applies to pickled mushrooms , hot-pickled and salt-boiled mushrooms .
Not only new barrels are suitable for canning mushrooms , but also barrels from fruit and berry products, juices, extracts, purees, and wine. Barrels are pre-soaked to prevent leakage, then steamed and thoroughly washed first with caustic sodium solution and then with hot water. During steaming, several juniper branches are placed at the bottom of the barrel (to remove extraneous odors), boulders heated on the fire, 1-1.5 liters of boiling water are poured and covered with a lid. Unfortunately, in the conditions of the city, this pleasure is rarely available, so salting and marinating a large number of mushrooms is done either in pans, or in small plastic barrels or buckets, or, best of all, in glass jars of various volumes. All canned mushrooms that require sterilization are prepared in glass jars.
The most common containers are glass jars of various capacities with regular (for rolling) and screw-on lids. Smaller cans, 0.2 L or less (for example, from baby food) are used for portioned types of preparations or preparations that are not stored for a long time after opening. Mushroom sauces, butter, seasonings, mushroom powder, etc. are prepared in such jars. Bottles with a wide mouth are often used for sauces and extracts.
How to properly marinate and salt products, read in the article - http://harchi.info/articles/marynuvannya-robymo-zapasy-na-zymu and http://harchi.info/articles/solinnya-produktiv-tryvale-zberigannya-i- yaskravyy-smak.
To freeze mushrooms , you will need bags and containers for freezing. It is advisable to use packages that have a fastener, or to purchase equipment for sealing. It is best to buy containers for freezing and storing frozen products that are plastic - but designed for low temperatures, transparent - you can see what is inside and do not need to be signed, rectangular and low - so that they fit comfortably in the freezer. Since re-freezing of mushrooms is highly undesirable, the volume of the container should be such that the contents can be used at one time.