first off, welcome to permies, glad to see you visit the forums
fermentation is certainly an interesting topic, particularly since it seems so simple of a process from what ive seen about it
but im curious, particularly since ive heard of at least one mushroom being used as an antibacterial in the production of beer in some past societies, if you have ever had or made fermented mushrooms of any kind?
In my personal practice, I have only fermented shiitakes with vegetables, and i was very pleased with the results. In Russia, I understand that fermenting mushrooms is quite common, and I included a short section on the topic in The Art of Fermentation. Fungi, like many plants and bacteria, contain antimicrobial compounds. But most of these compounds are either targeted toward specific competitors or not present in enough concentration, and do not inhibit fermentation.
i think i read it in one of Stamets book, ill see if i can find it real quick though... no luck atm but the description said they used it because unlike hops, it kept things antibacterial at higher temps and you didnt have to wait until it was cool weather (a rare thing in the subtropics/tropics where this was supposedly used)
I've fermented oyster mushrooms before. The ferment itself was a success but the texture of the mushrooms after was not the most appealing. However, the brine was beyond nutritious! I drank the brine and composted the mushies. I imagine that a firmer mushroom would hold up a bit better.
thank you for sharing your experience, i'll keep that in mind, im sure it would likely kill a good portion of the probiotics but i wonder how the brine would taste being used as soup stock?
I was reading in David Arora's book today that someone recommended he throw in a particular russula mushroom with his saurkraut, interesting how i sometimes find the answers to my own questions while going through life:)
I don't believe mushrooms are suited for natural fermentation process. They are usually pickled in vinegar, but this has nothing to do with fermentation. Mushrooms don't taste sweet and this means they don't contain sugar and without sugar food will not ferment. Cabbage, beets, fruits - all these foods are rich in sugar so they will ferment into sauerkraut, fermented beets or wine. Grains contain sugar and will ferment into beer.
Then, you need a supply of lactic acid producing bacteria which for example cabbage and beets contain. Fruits contain sugar and yeasts. Yeasts will break sugar into alcohol and CO2 carbon dioxide gas (soda gas). In cabbage lactic acid bacteria will ferment sugar into lactic acid and CO2 carbon dioxide (soda gas). Even meat contain very little sugar (glycogen) and lactic acid bacteria and this is enough to make a traditional salami, which is, however, air dried and not fermented product. If you add more sugar into meat you will increase fermentation and more lactic acid will be produced. The result is sourly sausage like Summer sausage which many people seem to like.
To make it simple not all foods contain enough sugar and naturally present bacteria or yeast to start fermentation. You can add extra sugar and a fermenting starter culture, but the culture will ferment sugar and not the fruit. A lot of acid will be produced which may help to preserve food but that will be like immersing food in vinegar. Not fermenting it. Bacteria hate acidity so you can place meat, eggs, mushrooms and other items in vinegar and they will be preserved, however, the taste is acidic. Fermentation produces its own flavors.
I think you've got a good point, John K. Fermenting mushrooms by themselves is somewhat problematic in my opinion. Mushrooms should all be cooked, because they contain compounds that need to be modified to be safe. However, lightly cooked mushrooms can be fermented with vegetables, for example. They could also be fermented with fruit, but I like the sound of vegetables better. It just sounds like it would taste much better.