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Salted Mushrooms

Mushrooms were once preserved this way to keep them for months or even years, but now we just do it because they're delicious, whether eaten alone or sliced into a salad. For a more distinct flavor, try using wild mushrooms. This recipe is adapted from The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker (Scribner 1997).

Makes 3 cups

1 pound mushrooms (larger ones can be halved or quartered)

1 bunch fresh dill

3 cloves garlic

2 to 3 bay leaves, broken into small pieces

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 to 2 cups water

2 tablespoons pickling salt

Wipe clean and trim mushrooms.

Trim, rinse and divide dill in half.

Have ready a clean two-quart crock or glass jar. Coarsely chop half the dill with the garlic.

Sprinkle a portion of the remaining dill in the bottom of the crock or jar. Top with a layer of mushrooms, stem side up.

Combine bay leaves and peppercorns, and sprinkle a portion of that mixture, a portion of the dill-and-garlic mixture, and a portion of the remaining fresh dill over the mushrooms. Continue layering in this fashion until all the mushrooms have been used.

Stir together water and salt.

Pour the salted water over the mushrooms, cover with a small plate, and weight the plate with a heavy can to make sure the mushrooms are not exposed to air.

Let stand at cool room temperature for 48 hours, then transfer to the refrigerator.

The mushrooms will be ready to eat in 2 to 3 days and can be kept, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 month.

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