Pickling a wild Sardinian mushroom is no easy task, if you’ve never pickled anything in your life. I’ve eaten pickles, been pickled (a few too many times) and even, yes, had a pickle party, but I have never pickled a wild Sardinian Mushroom.
I had no choice in the matter when Husband came home from the mountain top with six pounds of the freshest of fresh wild Sardinian mushrooms. You could smell the dung. We all know where mushrooms grow, right?
Sardinian wild mushrooms grow in the mountains, with the cows and the cow dung. I used to go mushroom hunting with Husband in the early years, but the novelty wore off as the dung clung to my shoes.
Husband has been a wild Sardinian mushroom hunter for over three decades. When he was ten, he spent most of his afternoons hunting mushrooms to later sell at the local supermarket, for a few lira. He knows where the best, of the best are growing. Just look at his loot.
What’s a girl to do with six pounds of fresh wild Sardinian mushrooms? Pickle them as per Husband, with aceto vinegar.
Armed with only this knowledge I headed to the local supermarket and asked the first old lady I saw: Signora, come faccio a fare i funghi? How do I make the mushrooms? And this is what she told me …
HOW TO PICKLE A WILD SARDINIAN MUSHROOM
by Jennifer Avventura & The Old Lady
- Peel skin from mushrooms. These wild Sardinian mushrooms generally grow in and around dung, and pee, cow pee. Peeling the skin from the mushroom will help remove any dirt, dung and pee.
- Place peeled mushrooms in an empty pot. Even if your pot runneth over with mushrooms don’t fret. The mushrooms will shrink in size the moment they hit the boiling vinegar.
- Lightly bathe mushrooms with cold water. The bottom of mushrooms are delicate, use care when washing as not to break mushrooms.
- Pour vinegar into empty pot and set to boil. I used a one liter bottle of vinegar, which was not enough, so I added a liter of water.
- Chop garlic, parsley and chili peppers together. The amount on each will depend solely on your own tastes. We like it spicy and garlicky.
- When the vinegar is at boiling point, add the mushrooms. Boil for five minutes and only five minutes, as the old lady at the supermarket said.
- During the five-minute boiling process you will need to lightly sink and stir the mushrooms, as mushrooms float.
- After the five-minute boil-a-thon, lightly drain mushrooms into a large colander.
- Set mushrooms out to dry and cool.
- When mushrooms are cold you can begin to jar them.
- Add some of the garlic, parsley chili pepper to the bottom of jar.
- Add mushrooms, layering garlic.
- Add sunflower oil last. (Oil type will depend on your taste.)
- Lightly push down on mushrooms to release any air pockets.
- Garlic, parsley, chili peppers.
- Sunflower oil. Or oil you prefer using.
- Mushrooms (fresh off the mountain are best.)
All you need are a few hours, some patience and the desire to try something new. The results are endless savoury wild bites.
Have you tried anything out of the ordinary? How did you learn to cook, bake and pickle?
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