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Pennsylvania is the largest mushroom-producing state in the United States. Two-thirds of the United States’ white button mushrooms come from the 68 Pennsylvania mushroom farms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service.

The town of Kennett Square in Chester County is known as the Mushroom Capital of the World.

“Pennsylvania produces white button mushrooms and some specialty mushrooms such as shiitake and oyster mushrooms,” said Maria Gorgo-Gourovitch, Penn State Extension horticulture team educator.

“From 2019 to 2020, Pennsylvania mushroom farms produced 526 million pounds of white button mushrooms, which accounted for $548 million in sales,” according to the ag department’s statistics service, Gorgo-Gourovitch added.

The American Mushroom Institute states that mushrooms are great to eat raw or incorporated into dishes. Mushrooms contain B vitamins, niacin, riboflavin, selenium, fiber and potassium. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration nutrition analysis, a half-cup serving of white button mushrooms contains 2% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C and iron, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

White button mushrooms contain no fat or cholesterol, and they are low in calories and sodium, with about 20 calories and 5 mg sodium per half-cup.

Preserving mushrooms

Commercially grown mushrooms can also be preserved.

(Note: Wild mushrooms should not be preserved.)

Research-tested preservation methods are available for canning, pickling, drying and freezing mushrooms. Step-by-step instructions for preserving mushrooms can be found in “So Easy to Preserve,” by Cooperative Extension of the University of Georgia.

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It is important to note that if you are thinking about preserving mushrooms by canning without pickling or marinating, the mushrooms must be hot packed and processed in a pressure canner. That’s to preserve them safely, and eliminate the risk of Clostridium botulinum bacterium, since mushrooms are a low-acid vegetable.

If you enjoy pickled vegetables, try this marinated mushroom recipe from “So Easy to Preserve.”

MARINATED WHOLE MUSHROOMS

Makes about 9 half-pint jars.

Equipment: Knife, cutting board, measuring cups and spoons, saucepan, colander or strainer, 9 half-pint jars, 9 two-piece canning lids and rims.

 Canning tools: Jar lifter, bubble remover, funnel, timer, lid lifter, water-bath or atmospheric steam canner with a rack, cloth towel.

Ingredients:

 About 7 pounds small whole mushrooms (select mushroom caps of less than 1 1/4 inches in diameter)

 1/2 cup bottled lemon juice

 2 cups olive or salad oil

 2 1/2 cups white vinegar (5%)

 1 tablespoon oregano leaves

 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves

 1 tablespoon canning salt

 1/2 cup finely chopped onions

 1/4 cup diced pimento

 2 cloves garlic, cut in quarters

 25 black peppercorns

Directions:

1. Wet and scrub hands and arms with warm water and soap for 20 seconds. Dry hands with a single-use paper towel.

2. Start with clean countertops and equipment.

3. Gently rub and rinse vegetables and herbs under cold running water.

4. Cut mushroom stems, leaving 1/4 inch attached to cap.

5. In a saucepan, add mushrooms, lemon juice and water until covered. Simmer for 5 minutes.

6. After simmering for 5 minutes, drain mushrooms and mix olive oil, vinegar, oregano, dried basil and canning salt in saucepan.

7. Stir in chopped onions and diced pimentos. Heat to boiling.

8. In each half-pint jar, place 1/4 garlic clove and 2 to 3 peppercorns.

9. Fill jars with hot mushrooms and well-mixed oil and vinegar solution leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

10. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims with damp paper towel and adjust two-piece lids finger-tip tight.

11. Process half-pint jars for 20 minutes in a boiling water-bath canner or atmospheric steam canner at 0- to 1,000-foot altitude.

Note: Adjust the processing time appropriately if your altitude is higher than 1,000 feet.

Food preservation webinars

Interested in learning more about healthy recipes when preserving foods?

The Penn State Extension Food Safety & Quality team is putting on a winter and spring series of “Home Food Preservation” webinars.

The series will include information on safely canning and freezing reduced-sugar and no-sugar-added foods, along with reduced-sodium and no-salt-added foods. If you participated in our “Let’s Cook at Home Charcuterie Board,” webinars, you may be interested in learning more about preserving charcuterie accompaniments.

Webinar topics and dates and times are listed below. You can register for these webinars by going to lanc.news/PSUFoodSafeWeb or by calling 877-345-0691.

You may register for each of the webinars individually or attend as many as you would like. Cost of each webinar is $5.

 Reduced-Sodium and No-Salt-Added Foods, 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22, and 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 20.

 Reduced-Sugar and No-Sugar-Added Foods, 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 2, and 7 p.m. Monday, April 26.

 Charcuterie Accompaniments, 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, and 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 23.

Stacy Reed is an educator with Penn State Extension in Lancaster, specializing in food safety and nutrition.

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