Preserving your Wild Forest Mushrooms (Pickling and Drying Methods)


I have ventured to the forest a few times since my last post and I have noticed this year’s season has produced a great crop of wild mushrooms in our South Australian forests. The decent rain in April and warmer temperatures all throughout Autumn have certainly helped the supply, although the mushroom season did start a little later than usual. Now at the end of June, I’m still finding some Saffron Milk Caps at Mt Crawford and Kuipto Forest. I was also so ecstatic when we found our first Slippery Jack growing in our garden last week! A Polish dream come true!

With so many mushrooms about this season I thought it may be useful to share with you some of my recipes to preserve them so you can enjoy their deliciousness throughout the year. I have included two of my family pickling and drying methods that I tried recently.



A glorious Polish bonfire: grilled kransky with sauteed forest mushrooms

The best way to enjoy foraged wild mushrooms is to consume them immediately. Sometimes we don’t even make it home, cooking them up in a pan with butter over a camp fire. Delicious! If you want to add a bit more zing to your pan-fried mushrooms the following is my go to recipe for a great balance of flavours.


Rustic fried mushrooms 

What you will need:

  • Saffron Milk Cap mushrooms, stems cut and sliced or keep whole (see my last post on tips to identify them correctly)
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 3-4 garlic sliced cloves
  • A small handful of finely sliced flat leaf parsley or dill
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • A generous sprinkle of pepper
  • Salt to season


  • Saute the mushrooms in the butter.
  • Add the garlic and continue to saute for 2 min
  • When the mushrooms have softened take off the heat and add the herbs, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with a slice of rye or sourdough bread. Enjoy!

If you have foraged more mushrooms than you can eat in the next day or two it is best to preserve them. The two common methods my Polish grandparents would use were to pickle them or dry them. Pickling suits the Saffron Milk Caps the most as they are quite mild in flavour and combined with a few spices and vinegar they make a great accompaniment to a plate of smalls goods or part of your antipasto. You can dry most mushrooms and they keep for years if you keep them stored well.


Pickled Mushrooms

This is a simple pickling recipe that can easily be adjusted by adding different ingredients. You can add garlic, oil, herbs and spices to your liking. Pimento/ Allspice is popular in this recipe but I did not have any on hand when pickling this batch. This recipe below compliments the Saffron Milk Cap mushrooms but you can pickle other edible mushrooms.

What you will need:

  • 1kg Saffron Milk Cap mushrooms
  • 1 litre of water

  • 500ml white vinegar
  • 50g salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 large onion finely diced
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp whole peppercorns




  • Remove stuck pine needles from the caps and clean your saffron Milk Caps by soaking in some water for about 30 min. This will help eliminate any bugs that may be contained within the mushroom.
  • Cut off the stems and check the hollow cavity for bugs. If you see any, rinse again before use. Slice the mushrooms to about 1/2 cm in thickness.
  • Place in a pot with the water and bring to the boil for 10-15 min. Drain and cover.
  • Bring the vinegar, salt, pepper, onion and bay leaves to the boil for 5 minutes. Completely cool.
  • Divide your mushrooms in clean glass jars. You can pickle in one large jar or several smaller ones.
  • Pour your cooled vinegar mixture over the mushrooms right to the top. Seal the lids tight.





The following method is important to sterilise your pickled mushrooms. There are many ways to sterilise your jars, either before you add your pickled mushrooms or after. My grandmother uses the following method and I enjoyed giving it a go!

  • Line a pot with a cotton cloth. Place a few jars on top but be sure not to cramp them too close together. This ensures your jars won’t break from rattling against each other.
  • Cover with water so that the jars are completely submerged.
  • Bring to the boil and reduce heat to maintain a steady boil for 15 minutes. It felt a little odd to sterilise my pickled mushrooms this way but it is an effective way to sterilise them.
  • Once cooled, store in a dark place and they are ready after a few weeks and can be stored for 1-2 years. When opened, store in the fridge thereafter. Enjoy!




Drying Mushrooms

Drying mushrooms is quite simple and there are two main methods; oven drying and air drying. I recently tried the oven method as an excuse to warm up our home.

  • Preheat your oven to 50-60 degrees Celsius.
  • Remove pine needles and gently clean your mushrooms using a damp cloth. Remove stems.
  • If drying spongy mushrooms like the Slippery Jack variety (Suillus Granulatus), it is useful to remove excess moisture using some paper towels or a dry clean cloth.
  • Slice and arrange slightly apart on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  • Place in the oven with the door slightly ajar or routinely open the door to allow moisture to escape. Dry for as long as required until your mushroom pieces snap. Drying time will depend on the type of mushrooms and how thick you cut them. Alternatively you can also dry your mushrooms as the whole cap. My batch pictured below took approximately 4-5 hrs with the oven door ajar.
  • When your mushrooms have completely dried, store in a sealed container somewhere dry. A great tip I found online suggests to reuse those small silica packages you find in your vitamins or other dry foods, and place one amongst your mushrooms to absorb any moisture.
  • To re-hydrate these mushrooms, place a few in a little hot water and stand for 10 min before adding to soups, sauces and stews.



I hope these tips and recipes are useful to you and you have fun preserving your forest mushrooms.

Have a lovely day,




Pear and Raspberry Streusel~ Placek z Gruskami I Malinami

A streusel (or ‘placek’ in Polish) is a delicious light yeast cake baked with seasonal fruit and topped with a rich crumble ‘kruszonka’. Apples, plums and cherries are commonly used as the fruit filling in the Polish kitchen. My version draws inspiration from my travels in France, using the complimenting flavours of sweet juicy pear, the delicious tartness of raspberry with bursts of buttery cinnamon crumble scattered on top.

What I love about the humble streusel is how fuss-free and forgiving it is to bake. A staple for a gathering with friends or family, and easily transportable for a casual picnic or a trip to the forest. I have many wonderful memories of my grandmothers turning up at a family gathering, with a large tray of  warm freshly baked placek. Wafting in the air would be the delicious scent of yeast cake and the sweetness of baked fruit . Like the common Australian-style banana bread, the ratios of ingredients can be varied according to taste and there is no need for stringent measuring to produce a great bake. The only imperative step when baking a yeast-based cake is to ensure that the yeast is not combined with milk warmer than 50°C otherwise the dough may not rise. A slightly cooler milk is ok, though you may need a little more time for it to grow.

Other suitable fillings include: plums, peaches, apricots, cherries, apples, strawberries and blueberries. Alternatively, a poppy seed filling is also very delicious and quite popular amongst Poles.

Recipe for Pear and Raspberry Streusel~Placek z Gruskami I Malinami


For the yeast cake you will need:

2 cups plain flour

2 eggs

1/3 cup milk

1 cup caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla paste

170 g melted butter (cooled to room temperature)

1 sachet dry yeast

Pinch of salt

4 pears

250 g frozen raspberries


Crumble topping ~ Kruszonka

3/4 cup plain flour

1/2 cup sugar

125g cold butter

1 tbsp ground cinnamon


1. Heat milk  and allow to cool down to 50°C.

2. Combine the yeast, 3 tbsp. plain flour and 3 tbsp. sugar to the milk, cover with a tea towel and rest in a warm area for about 15 min. You should see the mixture bubble up and double in size. Leave longer if the mixture has not doubled in size.



3. Preheat your oven to 180c or 170c fan-forced.

4. When the yeast mixture has grown and doubled in size, add it to your mixing bowl preferably using the dough hook attachment and a medium speed setting. Add the eggs, sieved plain flour, remaining sugar, vanilla paste and melted butter. Knead the dough using the mixer or by hand until the dough becomes elastic and slightly glossy.

5. Butter a 33x 24cm rectangle baking tray or use baking paper and distribute the dough evenly.


6. Peel, core and slice the pears and arrange on top of the dough with the raspberries. (I prefer to arrange the pear slices in clumps and fill in the spaces with the  raspberries for a rustic look, but feel free to decorate to your preference).


7. Combine the dry ingredients for the crumble topping then work in the cold butter with your fingertips until combined.


8. Sprinkle the crumble topping on top of the streusel.


9. Bake for 50min or until the crumble is golden brown. Serve warm or cooled, on its own or with a dollop of double cream. Enjoy!





Happy baking and Smacznego!

Have a wonderful day,