Make These Fermented Mushrooms & Add A Gut-Healthy Topping To Any Dish
People have been fermenting different foods for thousands of years, and though we can purchase many popular ones (like kombucha and kimchi) in stores, there's a simple art to the process of fermentation that means you can certainly start fermenting your own foods at home (and the truth is you can ferment just about any veggie).
This simple how-to comes from Analiese Gregory's new book How Wild Things Are, which shares her experiences with hunting, fishing, cooking, and foraging—slow food—on the island of Tasmania off of the southeast coast of Australia.
"These mushrooms are one of my favorite finds from those moments where you look at a vegetable and think 'I wonder if...'" she writes. "The fermentation makes them soft, salty, and delicious." Though there are actually four types of fermentation, this recipe uses basic lacto fermentation for brining, which is "best used on whole, smaller vegetables," explains Gregory.
Lactic acid fermentation is a process by which yeasts and bacteria convert starches and sugars into lactic acid, and it's the type of fermentation used to make everything from kombucha to kimchi to sourdough. It, like other forms of fermentation, leads to the production of probiotics—the good bacteria that support our gut health.
All you need for this recipe is salt, water, mushrooms, a vessel, and a little bit of time (about five days).
Fermented Shiitake Mushrooms
- 500 grams shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
- 10 grams sea salt
- 4 cups 2% salt brine
- In a bowl, toss together the mushrooms and salt. Pack the mushrooms into a crock or another nonmetallic fermentation vessel.
- Pour the brine over the mushrooms until just covered, and weigh them down with a weight or small plate to keep them under the brine's surface. Cover and store in a cool, dark place.
- From Day 5, I start checking the mushrooms every day, using a clean utensil. Once the fermentation has reached your desired level, decant to a container and store in the fridge to slow down fermentation. The brine can be used again on your next batch of mushrooms, which will ferment faster because of it.
Note: To make the 2% salt brine, combine 4 cups of water with about 19 grams of salt. The 10 grams of sea salt the recipe calls for is in addition to the salt needed for the brine.
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