How to Safely Can Mushrooms for Long Term Storage
Mushrooms are an important source of nutrition, and they are also a good survival food because they are relatively-easy to grow or harvest. What a lot of people don’t realize is that mushrooms can be processed and stored for long periods of time. This is a great option to take advantage of in order to make good use of those extra mushrooms when they’re ready to be harvested. The basic recipe below illustrates how it is to prepare a batch, and you can get started right away.
We recommend using pints unless you know that you can consume what’s in larger jars after opening because they need to be consumed right away. As a general rule of thumb, expect to use about 15 pounds of mushrooms for every 9-10 pints of product. You also need some ascorbic acid, but you can also use vitamin C tablet or some fresh-squeezed lemon juice as an alternative. Finally, you should add a dash of sea salt to taste in order to enhance the flavor. Just remember that the saltiness of the finished product will increase over time during storage, so be judicious with how much you put in now.
Note: You also need a pressure canner to safely make this recipe.
Preparing the Mushrooms
The first step is to choose the right mushrooms. To be on the safe side, use those white mushrooms that are available all over the place, and avoid preparing ones found in the wild. However, as you become more familiar with different types of mushrooms, as well as which ones from the wild are safe to eat, you can improvise with other alternatives as desired.
In any case, once you’ve chosen the right mushrooms, the next step is to make sure that they have short stems, their caps are not opened and that they are in good condition. You don’t want to can mushrooms that are too ripe, soft or ready to disintegrate when being handled. Aim for mushrooms at or just before their peak in order to avoid spoilage during storage, and doing so will also tremendously improve the quality and taste of the finished product as well.
Start up your pressure canner and heat the jars so they will be ready once you’re done preparing the mushrooms. Sort, trim and rinse the mushrooms before cutting the larger ones and leaving the small ones intact. Again, you have a lot of leeway here in terms of improvising, but generally speaking, keeping them intact will help them to remain firmer during storage.
Let the mushrooms soak in cool water for about 10 minutes before processing them.
Once the mushrooms are ready, place them in a saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and use a slotted spoon to place the mushrooms into your canning jars. Fill them until about 1 inch of headspace remains. Add in ½ teaspoon of ascorbic acid or one 500mg tablet of vitamin C or about a teaspoon of lemon juice and fill with the hot water used during boiling. Add in a pinch of salt if desired. Make sure that the mushrooms are completely covered with water and that it reaches around ¼ inch of headspace before wiping down the rims and attaching the lids and bands.
Place the jars into your pressure canner, attach the cover and bring up the heat until steam starts to vent. Let the canner vent for 15 minutes before closing any valves and attaching the gauge. Process the jars at 11PSI, adjusting for altitude, for 45 minutes. When finished, turn off the heat and allow the canner to depressurize before removing the cover and taking out the jars.
Place the jars on the counter that’s lined with a towel and allow them to cool for 24 hours. Once cooled, check that the seals are intact and that there is no damage to the jars or lids. Label and date the ones you will store before placing them in a cool, dark location. You can get a shelf life of at least a year if the mushrooms are canned properly.
Try this recipe out for yourself, and see how this is a great way to ensure that you have access to a constant supply of mushrooms.