31 October 2015

Chanterelles preserved under oil

Mushroom hunting can be a fickle activity. On some occasions, one returns from a walk through prime woodland in mid-autumn with hardly anything to show. Usually, especially if you know a few good spots, you will find enough for a meal. Occasionally, you find a huge bounty of mushrooms - more than you can eat in several meals. These are the days that mushroom hunters dream of. When it happens to me, I am like a child on a trolley dash in a sweetshop, and pick frenetically until I have picked much more than I can eat in one go. I am then bound to spend the rest of the day cleaning and preserving mushrooms.

Out mushrooming hunting at the weekend, we had such a day where we found several kilos of trumpet chanterelles. There are two main varieties of chanterelle of interest to mushroom hunters: the golden chanterelle (or what in French is called the girolle), and the brown or trumpet chanterelle (which is what the French simply call chanterelle). The trumpet chanterelle has a brown cap and yellow stem. The golden chanterelle can often be found in the same spot growing over several months. The trumpet chanterelles come all at once. From above they are brown and fairly non-descript. Usually you see a small clump, then another, and another, until you realise you are surrounded by hundreds of small brown mushrooms.

Trumpet chanterelle
If I find a lot of trumpet chanterelles, I like to preserve them by lightly pickling and storing them under oil. Unlike ceps, which can be quite slimy when preserved under oil, chanterelles have a good firm texture when stored under oil. They make a fine antipasto, particularly if mixed with a little chopped parsley. They also work well with salumi, particularly speck.

Preserving chanterelles under oil

Start by cleaning the chanterelles. This is a much easier job if when you pick the mushrooms you pare off any muddy roots with a knife. At home, clean them with a pastry brush to remove any dirt and leaf mould. It is best not to wash them in water as they get too soggy, but if necessary use a dampy cloth to wipe the caps.

Meanwhile, sterelise a couple of jam jars. The mushrooms pack down well, so you won't need too many jars.

Once you have cleaned the mushrooms, add about 500ml white wine or cider vinegar to a pan, with about 300ml water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to the boil.

Once the vinegar is boiling, add the mushrooms in small batches and cook each batch for about 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and lay on a clean tea towel to drain.

Once you have cooked all the mushrooms, spread them out on a large metal tray, then put them in an oven with the door open on at its lowest setting. Leave the mushrooms in the oven for about 30 minutes, so they dry out slightly.

Pack the mushrooms into the sterelised jars, and cover with oil, ensuring that the mushrooms are throroughly covered. Use a skewer to remove any air bubbles from the jar. I usually put a couple of peppercorns in each jar for extra flavour.

The mushrooms will keep for several months under oil. Once you open the jar, keep it in the fridge.

Chanterelles preserved under oil


  1. Hello Aaron, I'm jumping over from my site. I'm so glad you left a comment; otherwise I might not have come across your wonderful blog. If I can get my hands on some good chanterelles (I've never foraged and would be afraid that I might pick the wrong shroom!) I will make this. I've just handed in the manuscript for a book on Italian preserving traditions, including lots of recipes of vegetables under oil. It's always nice to have a few jars around as they go well with almost anything--grilled steak roast chicken, frittatas etc. Cheers and I look forward to reading more on your site.

    1. Hi Domenica. Thanks for your kind comments. If you ever get hold of lots of chanterelles, this is a great thing to do with them. I think they grow in North America, but I don't know if they are as common as they are here in Europe. Your book sounds great - Italian cuisine has a great and fascinating history of preserving. I'm a huge fan in particular of artichokes preserved under oil. All the best.