Mushroom fermentation is an art of preservation that has a long tradition in countries, in which mushroom picking has been, or still is a part of their culture.
So, it is still popular in Central and Eastern Europe, and also in Russia.
This is the third way of mushroom preservation, with two other being - drying, and pickling in a vinegar-based brine.
The mushroom fermentation process is relatively easy. Much more difficult is the sourcing, i.e. mushroom picking, as you really need to know what you are doing.
When we make our Fermented Mushrooms, it is usually in stages, as different mushrooms come out at different times, and when they do come out, there's usually an over abundance of a particular type. Which can be seen on the photo below.
Here, we have a beautiful cluster of so called Dark Honey Mushrooms (Armillaria ostoyae).
For our mix, we like to have a variety of different kinds of mushrooms. Each year that variety will differ a bit. So, sometimes we have an abundance of Honey Mushrooms.
Some other time, it'll be the Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus).
Or the Slippery Jacks (Suillus luteus).
It can also be an abundance of Parasols (Macrolepiota procera).
Or, the ever delicious Cauliflower mushrooms (Sparassis crispa).
In this particular case, the more the merrier.
There are a few varieties of mushrooms which can be consumed in the raw form. The vast majority of them requires cooking.
But first, it's the tedious job of mushroom cleaning.
Once that is done, those mushrooms need to be blanched in hot water.
Next we strain the water, and we let the mushrooms cool off.
Once that's done, it is time for onions and garlic.
These two raw ingredients will be the main food for the microbes.
Next, we add unrefined sea salt.
And then, some bay leaves and some mustard seeds.
In order for those mushrooms to taste similar to those in a vinegar brine, we also add some of our Kombucha Vinegar.
Vinegar addition is not a necessary step, as we have made Fermented Mushrooms before, using just a salt brine. But taste-wise we like it with vinegar.
Next, we mix all the ingredients together, and we adjust the liquid. If the mixture is still too dry, we add some filtered water.
Another thing that we add, is a bit of juice from our Fermented Vegetables. That juice will introduce Lactobacillus bacteria to the mixture.
Next, the whole thing goes into jars.
And from now on, it will take at least a month for them to be ready. We usually keep them for 2-3 months. They taste better when they sit longer than a month.
When we finally open them, we get this beautiful view.
So, when all the mushrooms are finally ready, we open all jars, so that we can mix all the mushrooms together. And that's because some jars may contain only one variety of mushrooms, or sometimes only two or three.
Next, the whole mixture goes into glass jars.
And now, our mushrooms are finally ready.
Ingredients: Wild Mushroom Medley, Unrefined Sea Salt, Onions, Garlic, Kombucha Vinegar, Filtered and Revitalized, Mustard Seeds and Bay Leaves