Freezing chanterelles

Crazy August rain has made this a banner year for foraging--I have 10 pounds of fresh chanterelle mushrooms to put up. I have read that dehydrating them sacrifices much flavor. Others say they've had success pan-frying then freezing. Anyone have actual experience and a good method for preservation with this particular mushroom?

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Susan W
Susan W August 25, 2014

You can freeze them. They don't dehydrate well. You clean them. I usually have to dip them in water because Oregon is wet. Then melt a little fat of your choice. I use butter. Pile them into the pan. Usually you dont want to crowd mushrooms, but in this case you do. Cook them until they release their water. There will be a lot in the pan. Then drain the liquid off and freeze. A friend of mine freezes them in a muffin tin, then uses a butter knife and prys them out and sticks them in a zip lock. She said ten pounds fits into one bag. Totally trying that this fall. :0)

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Susan W
Susan W August 25, 2014

I forgot to say cut the woody stems off if there are any. Also, don't toss the liquid. Yummy mushroom stock.

Brain Health Kitchen
Brain Health Kitchen August 25, 2014

Thank you. So good to know that this has worked as I don't want to mess up my precious cache! I know this works for morels, and I actually freeze them in snack-sized baggies in their poaching broth, but was not sure about the delicate chanterelle.

Susan W
Susan W August 25, 2014

The friend who freezes them in muffin tins tried freezing some in the broth and she said those lost more of their structure. I think it's best to freeze them separately, but maybe someone else has had luck with freezing them together.

judy j
judy j August 25, 2014

We also freeze the chanterelles we gather. I like to sauté them (some with and some without a onions) in a mix of olive oil and butter and wait until they have released their liquid to cool and freeze. Lovely to eat in winter.....

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Brain Health Kitchen
Brain Health Kitchen August 25, 2014

Do you also drain off the water before freezing or do you freeze them in their broth?

lem monade
lem monade August 26, 2014

My in-laws are great foragers and have been freezing the surplus of chanterelles using various methods, which – in my opinion – all led to slightly soggy results.
Last year, however, my mother-in-law switched to an equally simple and genius method of canning them in a light brine: pack the clean mushrooms into jars; bring saltwater to a boil (20 g salt for every litre of water / 1 heaped tablespoon for 4 1/2 cups), let it cool slightly and pour into the jars; close and can them for 20 mins (I like the waterbath in the oven method best). To use them just drain off the brine (and dry on some kitchen towels, if you want to sauté them). It is remarkable how fresh the chanterelles taste, if preserved this way, even staying wonderfully crisp.

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lem monade
lem monade August 26, 2014

I forgot: one can certainly add some aromatics to the brine, e.g a sprig of thyme, a garlic clove, some black peppercorns. But the pure version is pretty perfect already.

judy j
judy j August 26, 2014

I'm going to try the suggestion about brining and canning with some of the shitakes we grow. Going the sauté route works well, but this sounds like another good way to preserve them. Thanks to lem onade for that idea.....

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lem monade
lem monade August 26, 2014

So glad I could help! I'm sure it works great for shitakes as well. Since I don't have a lot of freezer space, I use this method for all kinds of vegetables (cherry tomatoes, green beans …) and always love the outcome.

Susan W
Susan W August 26, 2014

Lem monade, does canning things this way cause them to be salty? I have access to a lot of wonderful tomatoes, but am still weighing my options. Going to google oven waterbath method. Sounds interesting.

Greenstuff
Greenstuff August 26, 2014

Don't mushrooms have to be pressure canned?

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lem monade
lem monade August 26, 2014

Susan, I don't find them much saltier than vegetables blanched in well-salted water (maybe because the brine is a pretty weak one) – but of course, it's always a good idea to salt the dish in which you are using the chanterelles only after tasting it. If you want to read up on this way of preserving, I first came across it in Italian recipes, where it is called "in salamoia" (in brine).
The canning method I was mentioning is quite common in Europe: you set your closed jars generously spaced on a deep sheet pan, add an inch or two of boiling water to it and put into the oven. Heat it up (to 310 F for fruit compotes or 380 F for vegetables, no convection) and watch for small bubbles rising inside the jars; can for the given amount of time (usually at least 20 mins), then turn off the oven and let the jars cool in there with the door ajar.
But I am by no means a canning expert, just making family recipes, so please use whichever method you feel comfortable with.

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Greenstuff
Greenstuff August 26, 2014

I should have guessed you were in Europe. Canning recommendations are much more conservative in the US.

Susan W
Susan W August 26, 2014

I like your method. The oven method that is frowned upon in the states does not have you watch for the bubbles and then proceed. Yours sounds much safer. One more question..you also use the brine technique with tomatoes?

lem monade
lem monade August 26, 2014

Yes, I read that; isn't raw milk banned there, too? Maybe our European stomachs are better equipped to deal with bacteria ;)
I believe the bubbles are an indicator for the jar content reaching the right temperature, which is otherwise much harder to control in an oven compared to when they're completely submerged into water boiling in a pot.
Sweet cherry tomatoes in brine are wonderful (e.g. as a pizza topping or even in salads), just remember to prick them with a (sterile) needle a couple of times and not to cover them all the way with brine, since they release some of their own juices. We even make super lazy "unpeeled pelati" in a similar way, packing plum tomatoes halves into jars (as many as you can possibly fit), sprinkling a teaspoon or so of salt on top (plus basil, rosemary, or garlic), and canning without any additional brine …

Susan W
Susan W August 26, 2014

I tend to be braver than a lot of peoole. I keep my pretty eggs from pastured eggs in a bowl on my counter, I drink raw milk that comes from a very reputable farmer who pastures all of his happy and healthy animals. I would not recommend these behaviors to anyone else, but I think most of these rules came about because of feedlot cattle and caged and crowded chickens. Canning may be another thing though..I'll have to think about it, but I certainly like the idea of the oven method.

Brain Health Kitchen
Brain Health Kitchen August 26, 2014

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions. Maybe I should just have a big chanterelle dinner party but it would be nice to have some this winter.
I believe that mushrooms are a low acid food and therefore it is recommended that they be pressure canned to prevent Clostridium botulinum. But none of my preserving books address this....and I am not sure if wild mushrooms differ in their acidity. I would love to be able to can these via water bath method. Tempted to try it lem monade!

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Brady Klopfer
Brady Klopfer August 26, 2014

Here's what I do with both my chanterelles and my boletus: dry saute, then freeze. Just put the shrooms in a cast iron skillet with NO fat, and a decent amount of salt to help draw out the liquid. Stir and cook....the chanterelles will release a lot of liquid, but keeping cooking until the liquid disappears....some will evaporate, and the rest will get reabsorbed by the mushrooms.

In my opinion, fat makes the mushrooms a little bit slimy on the outside, and it seals the mushroom, thus keeping it from reabsorbing its own juice, and making it dry on the inside. this method makes them tender, and not slimy.

They freeze well, but make sure to keep a few, add a touch of garlic, put on buttered toast, add some Parmesan cheese, and broil for a second. your tummy will thank you :)

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Brady Klopfer
Brady Klopfer August 26, 2014

In case this wasn't clear, when I said no fat I meant no fat and no oil.

lem monade
lem monade August 26, 2014

Susan, I like your attitude! You could try the method on something with higher acidity (fruit compotes, tomatoes) to be safer and get a feel for it.
Jacksonholefoodie, I wouldn't want to talk you into something, you're not comfortable with (or worse, could be unsafe); if you want to give the brining a try, just use your normal canning method.
Brady Klopfer, now all I want for dinner is mushrooms on toast!

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Brady Klopfer
Brady Klopfer August 26, 2014

it makes a darn good dinner, let me tell you!

Susan W
Susan W August 26, 2014

Lem, tomatoes is really the only thing I am interested in canning. I'm not a jam, compote person. So far, I have just piled them into Ziploc bags and frozen them flat. If you could see my apartment sized (read postage stamp size) freezer, you would laugh. Bags of ratatouille, Mrs. Wheelbarrow's salsa and today an addition of tomatoes. I have a huge pantry, so canned tomatoes are happening right after I hit the farmer's market.

Brain Health Kitchen
Brain Health Kitchen August 26, 2014

Thanks Brady. That makes a lot of sense and I will try it. I know what you mean about the sliminess and I hope to avoid that!
Yes, lem monade, raw milk is regulated here on a state by state basis. I totally agree that the average American's gut flora is not as diverse and healthy as the average European's and we unfortunately have a lot more food borne illness and resistant strains of bacteria to deal with. Would love to hear more about how your family puts up food.

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Brady Klopfer
Brady Klopfer August 26, 2014

good luck! if you find that this method makes them a little too dry for your liking, they take well to a little fat after they've reabsorbed their juices. I usually add a touch of butter and a lot of garlic right when I turn off the heat, and let the pan just cook it all together.

lem monade
lem monade August 26, 2014

Ha, I had meant this as a bit of a joke, but yes, maybe it is all about what we get used to over generations… a question of evolution :)
Sorry, I don’t quite understand what you mean, “how my family puts up food”?

Brain Health Kitchen
Brain Health Kitchen August 26, 2014

Food safety is always such a big topic here, I try not to pay too much attention as i live in a rural area and can trace most of my food to farmers and producers I know. I only meant lem monade how interesting it is to hear about how other cultures and generations preserve their food, and how we can learn from that.

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Susan W
Susan W August 26, 2014

I agree. Lem, when you mentioned you are working with family recipes, that caught my eye as well.

lem monade
lem monade August 27, 2014

That sounds sensible, I'm also very sceptic about any kind of intensive mass farming, especially when it is animals.
I am from Germany so my grandparents experienced hunger, food shortages and rationing during and after the war; when the times got better, they always kept a full pantry and passed that on to my parents. We always had a little garden with fruit trees, berries and vegetables, usually producing more than we could eat right that moment. But no food was ever to be wasted, so we shared with neighbours and friends and preserved the rest – lots of jams, compotes, pickles. And we spent the family holidays in Italy, on the countryside, where neighbours taught us how to preserve artichokes under oil, can tomato sauce, dry-cure prosciutto. I married into a family from a rural part of Austria (including small-scale farmers), most of them making their own cheese, sauerkraut, smoked sausages etc. in addition to pickles and jams. So it really comes quite naturally to my husband and me to keep some of these traditions alive – and I just really love how a jar of tomato sauce or apricot jam can bring back the flavour of summer in the middle of winter!
How about you? Where do you find your canning recipes and how did you get into the whole process? Would love to hear your stories about it.

nancy essig
nancy essig August 27, 2014

I also canned pickled Chanterelles last year, they were excellent. When I freeze them though, I let them air dry for a day or two on cookie racks. I then slice and sautee in oil. They have lost excess moisture and get a nice caramelized surface. Then you freeze on cookie sheets so they are seperate.

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Brain Health Kitchen
Brain Health Kitchen August 28, 2014

Thanks nancy essig and everyone else for the chanterelle advice. Freezing a bunch with your recommendations, and I plan to can a few jars as well. Then I'll head back out to forage for more!

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