Cleaning and drying ‘trumpets of death’ …

It took me many an hour (spread over several days) to see to the cleaning and drying of the nearly 3kg of ‘trumpets of death’ that I had brought home from the mushroom hunt that I did with the daddy-man.

It was such a painstaking and tedious process … that I am having second thoughts about whether I would want to do it again. But I know that it will be hard to resist the call of the ‘forage’ spirit … so, it is highly likely that I shall end up going and looking for these mushrooms again if presented with the opportunity to do so! hehehe …

By the way, the ‘trumpets of death’ (or black trumpets) do taste very, very good in fondue and in pasta … which is another reason why I would go looking for them again despite the hassle and pain of cleaning them after the hunt! 🙂

However, I have learnt a few things from this first experience … so that the next time I go foraging for these mushrooms, I shall do it a little differently. And now that I have tried different ways of cleaning and drying them, I shall know how to clean and dry them the next time I go hunting for my ‘trumpets of death’.

But certainly … the next time I go on a mushroom hunting trip, I hope that it will be for some varieties that do not require as much cleaning lah! 😉

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Before I could even start cleaning the black trumpet mushrooms, I was told by the mum that I should trim the bottom ends. So I did … but not as much as I should have. I was hesitant to cut off too much … thinking that it would be a waste to do so. That was my first mistake. I should have done like the mum … as this would have helped with the cleaning process later.

For her part, the mum had cleaned the earlier batches of black trumpet mushrooms that were gathered by the daddy-man … by spraying water on them in the bathroom. Nobody had told her to do that … but she felt that this was the best way to get rid of the grits and the dirt.

As I was not keen to do the same in our bathroom, I decided that I would  surf the Internet to find out how I should go about cleaning black trumpet mushrooms.

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From the Internet, I learnt that it is sufficient to clean black trumpets by swirling them in cold water and then to pat them dry. And so, I did exactly that.

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And true to what the mum had said, I found several small slugs which had attached themselves to the mushrooms while I was cleaning! eiuuuh …

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It took me many hours … but I managed to clean half of the mushrooms that I had brought home and I was leaving them to dry … when I decided to take a closer look at these cleaned mushrooms. Once they had started to dry up, I realised that I could still see some grits on some of them! Oh dear … it appeared that the recommended method of cleaning was just not good enough for the mushrooms that I had gathered!

So I had to try another method of cleaning the rest of my black trumpets … as well as those that were already drying! Argghh …

Trumpets

I also discovered that it was important to break a whole mushroom … even though they look nicer if left that way … because, after I had started to do so, I realised that black trumpet mushrooms were not the only things that I had gathered during the mushroom hunt!

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Hiding among the trumpets’ hollowed stem, I have found a few slugs …

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… an earthworm …

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… as well as several of these tiny white worms … plus a few other small bugs! Eeuiihh …

I know they would all die upon cooking … but they were not part of my hunt!

And so I began trimming a bit more of the bottom end of the black trumpet mushrooms to get rid of the dirt clinging to that part as well as tear open the hollowed stems so as to remove any critters or slugs hiding there.

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After that, I decided that I would wash the mushroom under running cold water … rubbing off any clinging dirt or grits … so that they would be well and truly clean!

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This was then followed by patting them dry with kitchen towels. And yup … I had to use a lot of kitchen towels for this! 🙂

It was such a boring and tedious process … as well as very time consuming … so that after I had finally finished cleaning all of them (including the ones that were drying but had to be re-cleaned once again to remove the dirt that I saw still clinging on the mushrooms) … I truly felt that I would not want to hunt for anymore ‘trumpets of death’ in future!

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And then … there was still the drying that would take some time, too, especially if I were to leave the trumpets to dry at room temperature. Initially, I left them to dry near the heater. Yet it took really far too long and this was why I decided to cut down on the drying time by putting them in the oven. I used the lowest temperature possible … and even left the oven door ajar to minimise the possibility of accidentally burning the mushrooms.

It seemed to work very well … that I decided to take another short-cut by putting the newly cleaned mushrooms straight into the oven.

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Unfortunately, they turned out a little too dry and more brittle … and as you can see here (on the right of the picture), their colour was also much darker than the mushrooms that had been air-dried before being put inside a hot oven.

In fact, I had initially feared that I might had accidentally burnt them … but this was not so.

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When I put the mushrooms to soak in hot water, they both expanded in size. And when I later added both mushrooms into the fondue that the hubby was preparing  … it was hard to tell the difference when we were eating them!

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And the daddy-man was right, … the ‘trumpets of death’ go very well with fondue …

Pasta

… and pasta. They were delicious! 😀

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The end result of all that cleaning and drying of ‘trumpet of deaths’, aka ‘black trumpets’, aka ‘horn of plenty’. From one big basket of fresh mushrooms … I now have two small plastic bottles of dried mushrooms. My hard-earned ‘black gold’! hehehe …

Other entries on mushroom foraging: 

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