New favorite pantry staple… dried wild mushrooms!

I recently discovered this Oregon company, producing “100% Natural, Premium Quality Air Dried Mushrooms,” since 1999. On the History page of their website, they detail their origins – here is an excerpt:

“Pistol River Mushroom Farm is a family owned business started by Brian, Wilma, and Mike Hewgill… on the Southern Oregon Coast in a small town called Pistol River, approximately 25 miles north of the California border on US Highway 101. The Farm was started… packaging 7 different varieties of dried mushrooms, imported from all over the world and manufacturing 4 types of Mushroom Seasonings right here at the farm. In October 1999, we completed our first growing room for fresh Shiitake mushrooms and Oyster mushrooms. We produced 350# a week of fresh Shiitake mushrooms and 200# of fresh Oyster mushrooms. In 2007 our Dried Mushroom and Mushroom Seasoning side of our business had grown to the point we could not keep up with demand so the fresh mushroom side was scaled back and we concentrated on importing 15 Varieties of First Quality Dried Mushrooms from here in the United States and all around the World.”

Mushrooms have always been an important ingredient in my meals, not only for the flavors they provide, but for their health benefits. All mushrooms contain substantial nutrients, including protein, enzymes, B vitamins (especially niacin), and vitamin D2. Mushrooms are excellent sources of antioxidants as they contain polyphenols and selenium, which are common in the plant world. But they also contain antioxidants that are unique to mushrooms, such as ergothioneine, which scientists are now beginning to recognize as a ‘master antioxidant.’ 

I really am enjoying using these dried mushrooms! They are dried perfectly and packed well, so as to remain fresh for up to two years, but they rehydrate to replicated fresh mushrooms in hot water in about 20 minutes! Just 1 oz. of dried mushrooms equals 8 oz. fresh, so the $ value actually exceeds purchasing fresh mushrooms in the grocery store! The only less expensive mushrooms, therefore, are those that we forage for ourselves.

The soaking water is SO flavorful that I save it to add to soups, stews, sauces, or rice. Soon I will share my recipes for a quick mushroom quiche and for our favorite homemade fried rice! You can purchase these mushrooms online directly from Pistol River, or from our favorite co-op delivery service, Azure Standard, right HERE.

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