I was recently invited by New Seasons Market to visit a local mushroom grower in Portland, Oregon, called River City Shiitake. River City grows their shiitake and maitake mushrooms in a uniquely-controlled environment for superb flavor and texture. Jeff Fairchild, produce buyer for New Seasons, said that they have been a customer of River City since the grocery store’s early days and buy about 90% of the mushrooms grown at this facility.
The owner, Mary Mayfield Gambill, is a scientist by profession and uses her experience to grow a strain of shiitakes that few people grow due to their difficulty. Her beautiful mushrooms are superior in flavor, shape and density. Mary’s growing technique uses her very own pressed blocks made on site as the growing medium. These blocks are placed in large temperature-controlled rooms. Mushrooms take 16 weeks to grow from start-to-finish and her operation is nothing short of incredible.
After touring the facility I drove home with two paper bags filled with fresh, meaty shiitakes and maitakes. Due to mushroom’s high water content it is important that one consumes them right away. But what if you have a bounty of mushrooms, but hate to see them go to waste? Aha! Preserve them in a simple brine and refrigerate! They will last up to two months and get you through the holiday season. Think cheeseboards, sandwiches, on top of grilled meats along with little slabs of blue cheese or enjoyed straight from the jar. Pretty jars can also be tagged and dated and are perfect for gift giving.
This post is sponsored by New Seasons Market.
Makes about 3 to 4 half-pint jars
1 cup New Seasons Market olive oil
1 cup white wine or champagne vinegar
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 pound each of shiitake and maitake mushrooms
your choice of interesting fresh herbs (for example, chives, thyme, marjoram, etc.)
Place the olive oil, vinegar, peppercorns, and salt in a small saucepan and warm until just to a boil. Heat gently for five minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Turn off heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, pack mushrooms and herbs into jars. Pack fairly tightly, but without crushing the mushrooms.
Once packed in jars, pour in oil and vinegar mixture to cover mushrooms. Top with additional room temperature 50/50 oil and vinegar mix if necessary.
Seal jars and place in refrigerator. Allow mushrooms to marinate for at least 24 hours before serving. Can be refrigerated up to two months. Oil may solidify and that is okay; just allow jars to come to room temperature and oil will return to liquid form.
For gift giving, add tags with dates and “Refrigerate and consume within two months”.