Canned Hen-of-the-Woods
Fresh Hen-of-the-Woods mushroom, cleaned
Glass canning jars with new lids
Large stock pot or canning kettle
TIP: Use only fresh Hen-of-the-Woods. Discard old, bug-infested specimens. Remember: You wouldn’t preserve a rotten tomato, so why preserve a rotten mushroom?
1. Clean the mushroom by cutting or pulling apart sections into small strips and bite-size chunks, rinsing in cold water and carefully inspecting each portion.
As you clean the mushroom, drop the pieces into lightly salted water to evict any overlooked insects (Jo Cerny fills a clean sink with cold water, adding no more than 1/4 cup salt to the sink full of water)
2. Drain salted water and rinse the mushrooms in cold water.
3. In a large stock pot, add the mushrooms and cover with clean water. Parboil for 30-45 minutes. Mushrooms will settle and “cook down” slightly.
4. Drain mushrooms and pack into clean canning jars. Do not overfill jars.
5. Add clean water to jars, leaving between 3/4 inch and 1 inch of space between water line and top of jar. Tap jars and/or push down on the mushrooms with a fork or spoon to release air bubbles.
Each jar rim should be free from chips or cracks (to ensure a proper seal). Add metal canning lids and screw-on rings to each jar, tightening ring to a snug fit.
6. In a large stock pot, pressure cooker or canning kettle, arrange jars and fill with enough clean water to cover upper portion of jar without covering the lid.
Cover and bring water to boil and continue boiling for 3 hours, adding additional water as needed. (For those using a pressure cooker, less time is required for safe canning.)
7. Carefully remove jars, tighten rings to ensure a good seal and cool at room temperature. Canning jar lids “pop” as they cool, indicating a proper seal.
FREEZER METHOD: After parboiling mushrooms (see PREPARATION instructions at left), simply drain mushrooms and pack in air-tight freezer bags. This meaty mushroom freezes exceptionally well and can be utilized in a variety of ways after thawing, including being breaded and fried, cooked in eggs for breakfast or--as Jo Cerny often does--added to meat dripping to prepare a rich mushroom gravy.
more sizzle.