Saturday, 24 October 2015

Drying Mushrooms!

It's autumn, and what do you get fresh from the fields after the rain?  Yes of course you do... Mushrooms!  OK... well in spite of having loads of field mushroom lookalikes on our finca we have bought our mushrooms from the supermarket.  This is a precaution.  Firstly.... I have been mushrooming for field mushrooms in the UK since I was a child.  I am very happy spotting a field mushroom and very confident about eating them.  But here.... I looked at all the mushrooms popping up and although at first my heart leapt and I thought... yippeee... very soon after I had a nagging doubt.

The mushrooms appear to be your common old field mushroom but this is rural Spain.  Lots of very strange mushrooms pop up on our finca and I am filled with doubts.  So... not to worry... I'm not an expert and I am happy to admit it... I don't want to poison myself or my family... so its off to the supermarket where the season is reflected in the prices.

A couple of packs of Setas - Wild Mushrooms - a couple of euros and I have peace of mind as well as yummy food.

The mushrooms are ripped apart into roughly similar sizes and then I hang them up in net bags (rescued from onions at some point in the past) on the veranda to dry.

At night they are brought into the kitchen and then put out again in the morning.  Its rained a bit these last few days so they may take as much as a week to dry.  Once they are very very dry - like cardboard,  I will put them into a jar and keep them for use in stews and soups over winter.  They can be reconstituted by adding hot water and leaving them to soak for a little while and then they can be used almost like fresh mushrooms, except you might notice that the mushroom flavour becomes stronger after drying.  They can even be blitzed into a powder which is a wonderfully flavourful addition to a meal, without using a lot of mushrooms to achieve it.

Now, we have a very dry atmosphere here in South West Spain, its only really during January or February that it is too wet to air dry stuff.  If you live somewhere wetter then you might want to dry them in the airing cupboard, on the aga, above a radiator or even in a very low oven for several hours.  It all works.  Just make sure they are totally dry before storing or they will go mouldy.

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