I’m feeling a little sad about the end of autumn mainly because it marks the end of the mushroom picking season for 2012.
Mushroom picking is a funny thing, it’s amazing how foraging for your own food can give you so much pleasure and with each trip I am left with new memories that I know will last a life time.
I am so pleased that my daughter has followed in my foot steps and begs to be woken up at the crack of dawn when we go mushroom picking, in fact all I have to do is whisper the word ‘mushroom’ in the morning and she sits up instantly, can’t say that it’s as easy to get her to wake up in the morning on a school day.
Sebastian her BFF and his pet dog are equally keen ‘shroomers’ which makes mine and Blondie’s life very easy when we take off each weekend.
I love Slippery Jacks and Saffron Milk Caps equally, each of them have their own natural beauty and flavour, however when it comes to cooking with them not all cooking styles suit each mushroom.
Saffron’s are fantastic thrown onto a hot plate or pan with some butter and salt and eaten with some sourdough bread. Slippery’s on the other hand will turn to mush. Saffron’s make a great nutty flavoured paste where as to make paste from the Slippery’s you need to dry them first.
May this year was our second trip to Oberon. Blondie and I were very prepared! We purchased bread crates to store what we knew was going to be a massive haul! I should point out that whilst I purchased mine, Blondie was far more resourceful than I and got her’s for free!
As you can see we did very well. We actually picked twice the above amount.
Proudly displaying my mushroom stash photos when we got back to Sydney I was asked ‘so what will you do with them?’
Answer: Dry them of course!
So what’s a Slippery Jack?
Slippery Jack mushrooms (Suillus Luteus) are part of the Bolete group of mushroom. They traditionally grow in autumn and are in abundance after the rains.
Contrary to what some people think, Slippery Jack’s are definitely edible mushrooms, they have been eaten by the Poles for many, many years. They are pickled, dried, feature in soups, pierogi, pancakes, stews and the list goes on. It is said that the skin from the Slippery Jack can cause indigestion to some, I have never experienced this but maybe it’s because I’m a Polak and we eat these year round!
Their characteristic is a brown cap with slime over the top, hence the name Slippery Jack. It’s not a mushroom that I am in favour of eating fresh as I think that it tastes much better dried and re-hydrated. Mum’s Christmas (Wygilia) mushrooms soup is honestly to die for! No pun intended!
With my mushroom stash home it was time to roll my sleeves up and get to work! I peeled all of them, sliced them into small portions and was ready for the drying process to begin.
Dried Slippery Jack’s – the how to
Peel and slice your mushrooms. The thinner the slices the quicker it will take to dry them.
Place them on oven racks and pop them into an oven at 50° C, you will need to leave the door open just slightly to have some of the air circulating.
I always pop some baking paper underneath each tray as well. The Slippery’s are quite watery and will excrete some liquid.
Half way through the drying process they should look something like this…
My end result after 2 days of drying.
I should point out that my 3 bread crates turned into 3 bowls this size full.
So what happens to these babies next? Ahh well you will have stay tuned and visit for the next installment!