Thursday, October 17, 2013

Home canning wild mushrooms part II

A pressure canner should be used for mushrooms since they are not acidic
My Grandma gave me this canner for my birthday or Christmas or something
many years ago.  I should get the pressure gauge checked someday, but our
local extension service does not do that anymore.  Perhaps I should switch to using
weights instead of a gauge.
My blog post on home canning wild mushrooms is always popular this time of year.  In 2011 and 2012 I was not able to harvest enough mushrooms to can.  But now in 2013 I have more mushrooms that I know what to do with, so I broke out my pressure cooker.

Again, I'm not advising anyone on how to can mushrooms, I'm just sharing what I did three years ago and again this year.

I canned water infused with matsutake essence, aka matsutake soup. In 2010 I used 11 pounds pressure for for 30 minutes and it worked out just fine.  This year I upped the time.  I canned quarts at 11 pounds pressure for 50 minutes.  I am absolutely confident that this is a good method.  Note that I packed the mushrooms very loosely for two reasons. 

One, I am making soup, two if they are packed loose the heat is sure to reach to the core of all my mushroom pieces.  Tightly packed jars of a dense mushroom like matsutake could maybe, possibly be problematic.

To this soup I might add veggies or I might add the soup to rice. I have captured the essence of matsutake in canning jars, what I do with that essence will just depend on how I feel.  All I know for sure is that I am not putting it in whiskey.

The USDA still warns us not to can wild mushrooms, but the USDA is shut down right now, so I guess I'll ignore that.

 No really, the USDA gives some weird advice.  The USDA makes it sound like everything my Great-grandparents, Grandparents and parents canned, was dangerous poison.  Not true, none of  us ever died or ever got sick from food poisoning from our home canned food.

Still, you must follow sterile procedures and not take any short cuts when canning food, especially non-acidic food.  Botulism can live in a canning jar with no air, but acid and very high heat kill botulism.  Mushrooms are not acidic so to get the very high heat one must use a pressure cooker.  A pressure cooker allows one to cook at higher temperatures.  With a pressure cooker one is not limited to the temperature of boiling water.

Here is what I have cannned so far this year:

six quarts pressure canned matsutake soup
If I get a big load of chanterelles I might can some of them too.

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