Botanist and doctor of biomedical sciences Jurgita Motijunaite, head of the Mycology Laboratory of the Institute of Botany of the Nature Research Center, reminds us that mushrooms are nutritious even though they are low in calories.
“Mushrooms are almost fat-free, cholesterol-free, rich in various minerals and vitamins and active ingredients including antioxidants, such as powerful ones like ergothioneine.
The amount of active substances and vitamins largely depends on how the mushrooms were grown or cultivated,” suggests the mycologist.
“Squirrels hardly eat worms and it is difficult to confuse them with poisonous mushrooms. The nutritional properties are generally the same as other mushrooms. They contain carotenoids, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin D, a lot of copper and iron and compounds with antioxidant properties,” experts name the beneficial properties.
“Maximas” experts invite you to try three different recipes in which squirrels reveal themselves with different tastes.
Creamy squirrel and chicken soup
You will need: 400 grams of squirrels, 1 large onion, 1 carrot, 0.5 kg of chicken thigh meat, 500 grams of potatoes, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 liter of chicken broth, 1 tsp. percent dried thyme, a pinch of salt, ground black pepper,
500 grams of potatoes, 2 bay leaves, 2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste, 125 grams of cream/melted cheese, 250 ml of heavy cream.
We produce: Melt butter in a pan, add finely chopped onion and carrot, cook until soft. Cut the thoroughly cleaned and washed squirrels and fry next to the onions and carrots. Cover the vegetables and mushrooms with a lid for a few minutes to steam the ingredients. When the juice is released, pour the thigh meat into the pot, season with salt, pepper and thyme. Next, cut the potatoes into cubes and pour them into the pot. Pour chicken broth over everything, add bay leaves and mix well. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for about 8-15 minutes until the potatoes are soft. When the potatoes are cooked, add the tomato paste, cream cheese and cream to the pot. Heat, stirring, until the cheese melts and the soup boils again. Remove the bay leaves and remove the pot from the heat. Now let the soup stand in a covered pot for another half hour until the flavor “settles” and all its notes are revealed. Sprinkle the soup with thyme or other herbs before serving. Delicious!
Marinated squirrels “preparing for winter”
You will need: 0.5 kg of squirrels, 1 liter of water, 2 tablespoons of salt, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 4 medium size cloves of garlic, a few bay leaves.
We produce: Clean the squirrels well and rinse with water. Cut large mushrooms in half. Put everything in a pot, pour water and boil. If foam appears, skim off. Now cook marinade from all listed ingredients except vinegar. Add the mushrooms to the marinade, heat until boiling and cook for about 5 minutes. Pour vinegar, boil it again and turn off the heat after a few minutes. Put the mushrooms in heated jars, close them tightly, turn the lids down and cover them with a towel until the jars cool down. In winter, use mushrooms prepared in this way to flavor mixed dishes, soups and other dishes. Delicious!
You will need: 1 kg of squirrels, 1-2 onions, 5 bay leaves, 50 grams of salt, half a teaspoon of sugar, black pepper,
We produce: Clean the squirrels well, trim the stems and rinse with water. Boil in salted water for a few minutes and drain well through a colander. Now peel the onion and cut into slices. Mix salt with sugar. Put the mushrooms in the prepared heated pot, cover them with the first layer, then sprinkle with salt and sugar, and sprinkle each second layer with onions or spices. After the ingredients are finished, cover the pot with a plate and place a stone or other heavy object on it. After a few days, take the container with mushrooms to a cool room. Mushrooms should be constantly covered with liquid. If it is missing, add more brine. It is good to taste with baked or fried potatoes at least one month after tanning. Bon appetit!