Travel, Food, and Slices of Life

Learning how to be Safe with Mushrooms


As we made our westward journey from West Virginia to Oregon we spent a couple of nights in Sisters with our new landlords, Cathy and David Sewell. It gave us a wonderful chance to get to know each other and David was kind enough to take us up into the Cascades to look for chanterelles. We stopped at different elevations and brought home a decent amount. He taught us how to recognize them and the way to remove them so the area can continuing growing more mushrooms.

It was a lot of fun to think we could forage public land and find something edible….as long we we knew what we were looking for. We asked David who could help us once we got to McMinnville but it took almost two months before we finally connected. Two weekends ago Graham, Lisa, Dan and I went looking in the area we thought David had mentioned and found nothing. It could be we were not in the right place or, more likely, it could be that we went Sunday afternoon and other people had already picked the area clean before us that weekend.

Last Saturday morning Chris Chennel, our local expert,  offered to show us good areas in the western section of the Coastal Range near McMinnville  and sure enough, it was a bit different from where we had gone the week before. It was a nice haul and we researched on the web and with friends how to preserve the chanterelles.  When Dan returned this past weekend with his friend Caroline, they went with Lisa and Jana Brown’s family to find more. We processed this batch as well and I thought I would share how, in case you are lucky to find some.one bag

We learned that drying the mushrooms is not a good choice as they do not rehydrate well. However, freezing will work.

First the need to be trimmed. More experienced people who don’t get carried away by the excitement of the find actually take a second or two to do this immediately. They also brush off a lot of the loose dirt right there in the woods.  Instead, we carried it all home and had to trimtrimminga

and then washedrinse

and then washed morewashing

and then let them drip dry.crew

After that they need to be trimmed to smaller, more equivalent pieces, about 1.5 inches square, as “square” as an irregular shape mushroom can be anyway. cut up

Then, over medium heat, melt 1 Tablespoon of butter  for each pound of mushrooms in a dutch oven. Put the mushrooms in and stir it all around, coating the mushrooms with the melted butter.simmer

The mushrooms will start to exude liquid and reduce in size. When the level of the mushrooms and liquid are equal, turn off the burner. Using a slotted spoon to minimize taking the liquid, put mushrooms into muffin tins.tins

They freeze into “hockey pucks” overnight. Put on the counter for about 5 minutes and then using a flat blade, like a table knife, you can pop them out the muffin tin. They can keep in the freezer for your use in cooked dishes.pucks

Meanwhile, the broth in the dutch oven also should be frozen as it will make a great base for vegetable soup or cream of mushroom soup.

What a fun way to enjoy the bounty that the earth provides!Dan and Carolinea

Author: GoingPlaces Can-Do Zero Waste

I moved to McMinnville a few years ago and was impressed with its friendliness and the beauty of the surrounding countryside. I write several blogs. GoingPlacesLivingLife is my personal blog related to travel, food and just general thoughts. Can-Do Real Food tells about my business processing local produce from small farms and preserving it by canning and dehydrating. The concept of Zero Waste appeals to me because we can truly reduce what gets tossed into the landfill with very small changes in our lifestyle. Join us.

4 thoughts on “Learning how to be Safe with Mushrooms

  1. looks like a great way to spend the day with your family!

    • We’ve got enough in the freezer now perhaps. LOL Actually, we will only know that when we use up the last “hockey puck”. Now looking forward to searching for truffles in December!

  2. I’ve never hunted Chanterelles, but have picked Morels in California and Oregon… another easily recognized variety. Don’t think they generally lasted enough to consider storage. 🙂

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