Autumn has arrived and so too has the cooler weather. It’s early morning: Essentials chef Megan Chalmers begins exploring the pine forests of her native Beechworth region in High Country Victoria. After a few hours of foraging she brings home fungal gold: fresh saffron milk caps – perfect ingredients for crafting fabulous recipes and pickling.

Pickled saffron milk caps

Pickled Wild Pine Mushrooms (saffron milk caps)

400g freshly picked forest pine mushrooms (or any mushrooms you desire)
100ml white wine vinegar
50ml sherry vinegar
150ml water
2 golden shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 small chilli
1 garlic glove, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp white peppercorns
1 sprig fresh thyme
Sea salt flakes, for seasoning
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
Cleaned and sterilised pickling jars,
with lids


1. In a large saucepan add vinegars, water, shallots, bay leaf, chilli, garlic, brown sugar, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves and thyme. Bring to the boil and simmer for approximately five minutes.

2. Add the mushrooms and continue to simmer for a further 3 minutes, remove from heat and season with sea salt flakes.

3. While still hot, pack mushrooms tightly into sterile pickling jars and pour the hot infused pickling liquid over the mushrooms until just covered.

4. Top each jar with olive oil completely, and seal tightly.

The mushrooms are infused with flavours during the cooking process and can be eaten immediately but longer resting times will enhance favours.

Russian Pickled Mushroom Salad

Russian Pickled Mushroom Salad

250g pickled wild mushrooms, strained
½ white onion, thinly sliced
10-12 small sprigs of dill
4-5 tbsp light sour cream
Salt and pepper


In a small bowl combine all ingredients, mix well and season to taste.

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