- Author: L. Watts
Here you go: Mushrooms as spices, able to be powdered and added to food for that mushroom-y umami flavor.
Tasty, delicious, fresh 'shrooms are very perishable; commercially dried at the grocery are really expensive. . . What to do? ---Dry your own, I say.
Watch for a sale and set your limit on price. The last time I found mushrooms on sale it was $.99 for 8 ounces of whole brown mushrooms at a local market. As you might have guessed, this was over a year ago.
I purchased 10 pounds of mushrooms. The dehydrator was dragged out from hiding. Knives were honed and the fungi were sliced according to this link at the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP).
I dried until crispy; I wanted to be able to crush my mushrooms for addition to spaghetti sauce. All of those mushrooms fit handily into three quart-sized jars.
A while back on the net, BMDM (Before My Dried Mushrooms), I found a Korean recipe that asked for a good pinch of mushroom powder, but I did not have any. Now, I can whirl some dried mushrooms in a grinder and come up with some powder quick. I can use whole and ground mushrooms in soups, stews, and sauces. Did you know that the mushroom powder will up your "umami" flavor (savory/"meaty") just as fresh or dried ones will?
Re-hydrate whole slices by placing them in a deep, narrow, heat-proof container(A canning Jar!), then pour over boiling water and let rest until the mushrooms are soft and flexible (at least 15 minutes), then use in your whatever. Prepared this way, the dried slices never really return to a fresh consistency, but have a nice bite and chew to them along with some great flavor. For better texture in a cooked dish try leaving them to re-hydrate several hours in the fridge after you add the boiling water. Alternatively, you can crumble them into, or toss whole into a dish to cook (as in pasta sauce).
If you want to grind into a powder, place the amount of crispy dried mushrooms you wish in a blender or small food processor and whirl to a powder. Store in a tightly lidded (canning!) jar. Reconstitute by sprinkling in your dish as you cook; you may need a little water and taste to see how your mushroom powder is doing as seasoning. Remember to take a good smell when the jar is opened. I find the aroma is deep and wonderful.
One more thing: Make sure you have a male significant other slice the mushrooms for you, then ask, "Are you having fungi?"
- Author: Lauria Watts
Home-canned chicken is wonderful. And the broth/stock that forms in home-canned chicken is worth every penny you spent on the chicken, jars, pressure canner. . .
Oh, man-oh-man, do I love a sale BIG TIME! Caught a local market with fresh, name-brand chicken thighs, drums and split chicken breasts on sale for 67 cents a pound!. I had not seen any fresh chicken at that price for a very, very long time--so of course I bought my limit of thighs--they have so much more flavor than breasts. I rushed them home and they sat in the coldest part of my fridge for a day, waiting for me to pressure can them.
These thighs were fresh--Great! Wide mouth pint jars were dug out of storage, washed and made ready. Lids were rounded up and cleaned for sealing. National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP)/USDA canning instructions checked for time and weight at my altitude. The chicken was rinsed, cleaned, skinned and de-fatted in preparation for loading into jars. However, I found that I had not considered the size of the thighs when I purchased them. I mean, how big could they be, right? After all they are chicken thighs, no?
. . .At the last minute I dug out wide mouth rings. . . I don't have too many of those, and some were of questionable roundness. . .
Surprise! These were monster chicken thighs. This is good, because big chickens equal larger thighs, and larger thighs have more connective tissue and more meat. The chicken juices would have plenty of gelatin, making for great flavor and smooth, rich feel in the mouth.
BUT -- the thighs were so large that I could only fit 1 full thigh and maybe a little more. So as I packed the thighs I cut chunks off of other thighs to fill each jar. Some jars had one thigh bone, some had two. It worked. The good stuff I wanted, all that good gelatin at either end of the thigh bones, was preserved.
Lids and rings were applied, the canner was loaded. I checked the canning directions again. The canner was sealed and vented appropriately, loaded, and brought up to weight-jiggle. The processing went great, the weight jiggled just right, all was well in my little kitchen. After cooling, jars were unloaded, merrily boiling.
But wait! THREE of those jars were not boiling. Remember those rings I mentioned? Alas, three no-seals and I think it was because of the "funky" rings--or maybe it was the old lids? Into the fridge they went--what a pain! Note to self: Buy a whole bunch of boath regular and wide-mouth lids WITH rings, regularly, like every year. The unsealed jars went into the fridge and my husband was very happy with his chicken stew with dumplings the following night.
(BONUS--My tip for today: When you find a deal on lids, DATE each box! AND inspect all of your rings regularly for rust and roundness.)
Any way, the thighs jellied up very nicely, so I am thinkin' about canning up a bunch of chicken foot broth. Chicken feet can be purchased at the local 99 Ranch store (chicken feet are called chicken "paws" there). They would look pretty funky up on a shelf--but they'd make GREAT stock to go with some great home-canned chicken!
Now hie thee to thy kitchen and give the following a try. It's easy-peasy, really!: