There are two methods of pickling mushrooms in Russia. You can salt them in a barrel (and they will be salted mushrooms) or marinate them with vinegar. I am not so fond of the taste of salted mushrooms but quite like marinated mushrooms. Russian marinated mushrooms (or pickled with vinegar mushrooms) are a great addition to hors d’oeuvre or traditional Russian cold starters variety. Here is my mother’s recipe which makes mild and tasty marinated mushrooms and works well for both wild mushrooms and white button mushroom. And of course you can marinate button mushrooms from your nearest green grocer all year round!
Russian marinated mushrooms recipe
Please consult the link above to find out about the best forest mushrooms for cooking but keep in mind that the best wild mushrooms for marinating are young, small and firm! Spongy mushrooms are the best and therefore they are called noble. Additionally to the spongy mushrooms mentioned in the linked article you can use slippery jacks (Suillus) if you can find them. They are considered one of the best wild mushrooms for marinating thanks to their ‘slippery’ quality that works great for pickling, see the picture below.
As for button mushrooms, you can use white or brown as far as they are fresh, small and firm.
Mushrooms: young and small spongy wild mushrooms or small (white or brown) button mushrooms. You can also use pre-boiled and frozen mushrooms (this is a good practical method of preserving mushrooms in Russia). You will need to thaw them out before you use them and you won’t need to boil them for as long as fresh mushrooms.
You will have to eyeball the volume of marinade vs the amount of mushrooms you will need.
Marinade for 500 ml (2 measuring cups) boiling water:
- 1+1/2 tea spoon fine salt (non iodised)
- 1 tea spoon sugar
- 10 cloves
- 10 black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 pinches dill seed (optional)
- 2 tea spoons white 5% table vinegar
You will also need glass jars, washed and briefly sterilised in boiling water, if you are preserving mushrooms to consume within several month. If you are planning to eat them within several days you can use any glass, porcelain or enamel dish.
- Wash, cut to bite size, boil and simmer mushrooms in a small amount of water for 10 minutes. Drain the mushrooms and put them aside. Save the mushroom stock to make a marinade.
- If you are marinating wild mushrooms it is better to sieve the mushroom stock though a fine mesh or (better) a kitchen paper towel to get rid of any sand and small forest bits that are always present in forest mushrooms.
- Return the mushroom stock into the pot and bring to boil. Add salt, sugar and spices as per the ingredient list above (do not add the vinegar at this point!). Mix well until the salt and sugar are fully dissolved.
- Add the boiled mushrooms into the marinade. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Catch the mushrooms with a slotted spoon from the marinade and put them into jars or a dish (you need to fill the jars up to the top). Pour the hot marinade on top.
- Add 2 tea spoons of vinegar into each 500 ml jar or into the similar volume of mushrooms with marinade. Seal the jars with the lids, turn them upside down and keep warm (wrapped in a blanket) until cool. Store canned marinated mushrooms in a dark cupboard at the room temperature.
The Russian style marinated mushrooms are ready to eat the next day as they were fully cooked before canning.
Serve as a cold starter or as a side vegetarian dish, marinated mushrooms go really great with boiled potatoes! Pickled mushrooms with vinegar are a traditional accompaniment to vodka. Enjoy!