1 kg small, young ceps
30 g salt
1 big yellow onion (about 200 g), peeled and cut into halves
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon yellow mustard grains
12 grains allspice
14 grains black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
250 ml white vinegar (10% acidity)
500 ml water
½ carrot, peeled, washed and finely sliced
3 250 ml jars
Delicately clean the ceps from the leftovers of the forest.
Scratch the stems to remove soil.
Rinse the mushrooms delicately under cold water.
In a saucepan, bring to a boil 1 liter of water with 20 g salt.
Add the onion and ceps and cook between 20 and 25 minutes until they are quite soft, or Al Dente.
Strain the liquid, discard the onion and put the mushrooms aside.
In the meantime, in a small saucepan boil a small amount of water and blanche the carrots, strain them and put them aside.
Prepare marinade: in a middle size saucepan, put the spices (mustard, allspice, black pepper), bay leaves, sugar, 10 g salt, the water and the vinegar.
Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
Cool the marinade down and taste it. It should be sour with a sweet after taste.
Strain the marinade in order to separate the spices and bay leaves from the liquid (save the liquid).
Prepare sterilized jars.
Distribute the mushrooms, spices, bay leaves and carrots equally between the jars. The content should not be too tight.
Pour the liquid into the jars until it covers the mushrooms completely.
Close the jars and pasteurize them between 15 and 20 minutes.
You can use this recipe to pickle other eatable mushrooms, such as, for example, bay boletus, red pine mushrooms, suillus or chanterelles. Young red pine mushrooms are especially delicious when marinated. The best are small and young mushrooms. If you cannot get them, it is possible to marinade bigger mushrooms, but in such a case they must be cut into smaller pieces.
You can also adjust the acidity or sweetness of the marinade by changing the proportions of vinegar and sugar or replacing sugar by honey according to your own taste.
Remember that if you want to be happy with your marinated mushrooms (and other pickles) you should observe hygiene rules strictly. Mushrooms must be nice and in a good condition, well washed and dried. The jars and their lids must be ideally washed and sterilized.
As I already mentioned in my post concerning Lingonberry Preserves, Poland is a country where traditions of homemade preserves were strong for years.
Nearly every family – of either intellectuals or farmers – had a small cupboard full of marinated vegetables, mushrooms, jams, marmalades, juices, pickles, conserves, homemade alcohols etc. The tradition for homemade preserves is not as common anymore as it is possible to get all types of preserves in stores. Furthermore, people are busy with their professional lives and do not dedicate much time to this kind of culinary preparation.
However, it is obvious to say preserves are always better when homemade, provided that you have good recipes, and good ingredients, of course. You can always adjust their taste according to liking.
I like to pickle mushrooms on my own. Some brands which are available in stores are good as well, but in most cases they usually are too sour or too sweet for me, as they contain too much vinegar or too much sugar. And they are expensive!
In France, and possibly in other countries where Polish communities exist, you can find those pickled items in stores carrying Polish food.
Marinated mushrooms are my favorite side accompaniment to traditional Polish charcuterie and vegetable salad since childhood. When I was a kid, I could close myself in a bathroom, read a book and eat marinated mushrooms straight from the jar, risking stomach problems, as usually I had too much at once.
In the eighties, they were always made by my parents. The mushrooms were picked up in the summer time. Usually mushroom collection took place in local forest in an area surrounding small villages in the Podhale region, as we were going there every year. I have great memories, however, concerning the northern-eastern part of Poland, a real mushroom paradise, where we went for holidays in 1983, if I remember it well. The absolutely great area around the little town of Sejny. And Puszcza Augustowska, an old forest a bit remote from the ex-USSR border, was a paradise for picking mushrooms. The area was, and I believe, still is, not so overcrowded with people, with a lot of old forest rich in venison and mushrooms.
Now I pickle my mushrooms when I am in Poland, during summer holidays. In France they are awfully expensive. I always buy them on “Stary Kleparz”, a food market in the heart of the city, between Św.Filipa and Basztowa Streets. I will only say a few words today about this market, as it is worth mentioning it and visiting it. It is open every day, except Sundays, and it probably is the oldest food market in Kraków, having its origins from the 14th century. The history of this market is strictly connected with the history of Kraków.
Not such a long time ago, during the communist era, the market was a place to find goods in short supply. Women from the countryside were selling veal and other kinds of meat, for example. Exotic fruits, meaning banana, lemon, grapefruit and orange could be found there as well. My great aunt Janina, who passed away several years ago, used to run her small shop there, selling curd cheese and other milk products.
Also today the market is one of the most popular places in the city. Except for places selling meat, milk products, Polish and foreign fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, different types of beans, cereals, breads and so on, on a regular basis, you can find small retailers, very often farmers and producers, selling tons of fresh seasonal fruits, vegetable, mushrooms, homemade fresh and smoked cheeses and butter as well. The good thing about cheeses is that you are always invited to taste them before buying them, so you can choose what you really like.