Since people asked, here is the recipe we used to make the Pickled Chanterelles served at the 2018 Lincoff foray. You can obviously cut it in half if that is more convenient. This is the recipe used at the 2018 Lincoff Foray. It is adapted from a recipe provided by Mary Smiley, who now lives in Maryland (a different woman from Pittsburgh’s own Mary Jo Smiley).
NOTE: The original recipe specified white wine vinegar but we used what we had handy. We believe that 100% champagne vinegar would have been even better, but the key is to avoid a harsh one. We also added the onions (for complexity and because we love pickled onions anyway) and the star anise (because it plays so nicely with chanterelles). One recipe makes ≈ 4-5 quarts of chanterelle pickle.
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS: Vinegar-based pickles like these typically follow a 3 step process: (A) Boil briefly to get rid of the spores and impurities, (B) Jar with something like a 1:2 mixture of vinegar-to-water, and then (C) Finish cooking in the jars for 30 minutes, which will create a vacuum seal for long term storage. This recipe is slightly unusual because the parboiling step takes place in the brine. That makes them ready to eat right away and allows you to ignore the vacuum-sealing step if you’re keeping them in the fridge for a maximum of 60 days. We do the whole process because we store them in the pantry indefinitely. Just remember that the jars will be prettier if you leave behind the dusty impurities as you move the liquid into your jars.
SAFETY NOTE: As always, if the lid pops during storage you should throw the whole thing away because something went badly wrong.
Prepare the pickling brine: Place the water, vinegar(s), sugar, salt, spices and herbs in a pot big enough to hold everything. Bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve the sugar and salt, and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and then add the onion and mushrooms. Bring the mixture back to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes depending on the size of your pieces.
Cover and then walk away until the mushrooms and the pickling liquid have dropped to room temperature.
Meanwhile, make sure your jars and lids are well cleaned and ready to go. Old ones often suffer from rust and new ones from a musty, plastic smell.
Divide the solids among your jars and then ladle pickling liquid and spices to the packed jars, leaving ½” of space at the top, discarding the dust at the bottom.
Cap each jar with a flat lid and add the screw-top – but do not screw it down tight. This allows air to vent out and create a vacuum seal for long storage.
Place your jars in a large pot with kitchen towel(s) wound in between to prevent banging. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook the filled-but-loosely-capped jars for 20 minutes, measured from when the boiling begins. Move to storage when cool enough to handle. They are now vacuum-sealed. Close the screw-top to a casual finger-tight.