Eat Oregon Seafood

Astoria Bridge Marina, photo courtesy of Home Canning Tuna video.

This week has been a whirlwind attending Oregon State University’s Annual Extension Conference. This virtual event has included all the Zoom hiccups, like me forgetting to turn off video while using a hot cup of tea to warm my chilly nose…whoops! I wasn’t alone though, the highly-esteemed keynote speaker wasn’t able to share his screen and when he tried to fix it, ended up kicking all 450+ people off. We were able to easily get back in and I think it was the Best. Intro. Ever!

In addition to the excellent Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion sessions, such as Courageous Conversations about Race and Basic Rights Oregon‘s Transgender Inclusion 101 (So informative!) and topics related to virtual programming, there were also program-specific updates. These updates share Extension work happening across the state.

photo by Buffy Rhoades

I thought I’d share one near and dear to my heart. Grandma Violette used to can fish. Specifically, salmon. Andy was an excellent salmon fisherman and often brought home very large fish from the Deschutes River. (Eating salmon steaks with dire warnings of choking on a fish bone if I wasn’t careful still haunt me.)

I started canning tuna as soon as I inherited mom’s Maid-of-Honor pressure canner. Lin, one of my canning mentors, recommended buying tuna off the dock in Garibaldi. I purchased my first tuna directly off the boat from a fisherman named George Bernard Shaw. (No relation.) He was a hoot and I was immediately hooked, so to speak.

Garibaldi Marina, Tillamook County. Image from Beach Connection.

You might not know this, but coastal economies took a huge hit due to the pandemic. Apparently, restaurants account for the majority of seafood sales. The Eat Oregon Seafood initiative was developed to help the fishing industry recover from revenue lost due to Covid. The Oregon Department of Agriculture asked OSU Extension and Oregon Sea Grant to partner with them to create a resource for people who want to learn where they can source Oregon-caught seafood. 

Image from Positively Groundfish

Other #EatOregonSeafood partners include: Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, Oregon Albacore Commission, Oregon Trawl Commission, Oregon Salmon Commission, and Oregon’s Positively Groundfish. 

In addition, our fearless leader, Kelly Streit, RDN, Senior Instructor partnered with Amanda Gladics, Assistant Professor of Practice at Coastal Fisheries Extension and the Oregon Sea Grant to produce this excellent video teaching folks how to safely preserve tuna. They had such a good time. 🙂

Image from Eat Oregon Seafood website. Aka, tuna cooked in oil (canned works great) w white beans and pickled vegetables.

For more information about Eat Oregon Seafood, check out this article from the Corvallis Advocate. To find Oregon seafood vendors, recipes from local chefs , (like Kathy Whims’ recipe), and to learn about sustainability and fishing practices in Oregon, go to the Eat Oregon Seafood website. Feel free to share your favorite seafood recipes and pictures using the hashtag #EatOregonSeafood on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Until next time… keep exploring, stay curious, and be excellent to each other.

 

Buffy Rhoades| mom. forager. gardener. volunteer turned program assistant. a real busy beaver

Sometime soon I’ll figure out how to add icons for our YouTube channel, newsletter, Healthy Together, and our website. (Thanks for the comments!)

Winter Squash and Wild Mushrooms

Kabocha and Butternut curing on the porch
Testukabuto squash samples at the Culinary Breeding Network

February 16th, I attended OSU’s Culinary Breeding Network Variety Showcase event, sadly one of my last public events before COVID-19, and sampled a Tetsukabuto cream filled Purple Karma barley waffle cone. It blew my mind. Creamy texture and not-too-sweet, the squash was a perfect marriage with the dark chocolate-lined barley waffle cone. I planted Kabocha seeds and plan to attempt to replicate this dish.

Folks love the comfort-food quality of pumpkin and warm spices, and often ask how they can preserve their winter squash. Unfortunately, pressure canning pumpkin (or other winter squash) puree is unsafe. The density of the low-acid puree prevents thorough heat penetration, creating a serious food-safety risk of Botulism. If your “Charlie Brown Pumpkin Patch” has produced more than your freezer can accommodate, consider canning them in cubes and puree after opening the jar. Also, check out Food Hero’s winter squash and pumpkin recipes, nutrition information, coloring sheets…so much goodness… on their website

Pumpkin soup and pepitas. Photo courtesy of Tina Vanhove on Unsplash.

Can’t find jars or lids? Remember the dehydrator and powder technique I shared in the last post, Tomatoes and Autumn Sweaters? This technique works for winter squash too. Wash, cut in half and roast, leaving the skin on, until soft. Scoop out the flesh and mash or puree. Gently cook it down to the consistency of canned pumpkin and add spices to the pulp for pie filling or soup base. Dehydrate on a leather tray at 135 degrees f until crispy. Break into shards and grind into powder and store in an airtight container. Don’t waste the seeds! Toasted Pumpkin seeds, aka Pepitas, are delicious and full of nutrients. Instructions here.

Golden Chanterelle photo by Buffy Rhoades

My favorite seasonal treat, wild mushrooms, present a similar issue when it comes to preserving. Freezing and dehydrating are the only research-based, university-approved methods to preserve wild mushrooms. Mushrooms have a low pH (6.2) and are a food safety risk for Botulism. Due to their uniform size and density, commercially-grown button mushrooms have been researched, resulting in safe, tested recipes. Chanterelles and other edible fungi have not been tested. (I would love to see research on other safe ways to preserve Oregon’s state mushroom.) Until then, I’ll happily forage, freeze, and dehydrate.

I like the effect of dry sautéing mushrooms. It releases their juices and yields a beautifully caramelized mushroom, perfect for dehydrating or freezing. Instead of boiling away the mushroom juices, I save them in a container to use as broth for freezing. (Or mushroom gravy.) If freezing, I add a tiny amount of butter or olive oil at the end of cooking so the mushrooms get somewhat crispy, but I don’t add fat during the cooking process if dehydrating them. (The oil can become rancid over time.) 

When fully cooked, cool, label, and store in the freezer

 

FYI, button mushrooms do not need to be cooked before drying, but due to the fibrous nature of chanterelles, they benefit from pre-cooking. Our Master Food Preserver dehydrating guru, Don Wiley, explained that the cell structure of most vegetables, and this includes fibrous mushrooms like chanterelles, needs to be broken down before drying so they aren’t tough and rubbery when reconstituted. (Steaming is a fine method of pre-treatment.) After dehydrating, consider grinding them up for an easy mushroom soup base, perfect for backpacking or camping, or leave whole. Sealed in an airtight container or vacuum sealer, they’ll keep for months to years. Thank you Don!

 

Until next time, friends… enjoy the beautiful Autumn weather and fruits of the season. Look for more information on the OSU Extension Family and Community Health program on FacebookInstagramYouTube, our website, and newsletter.

Keep exploring, stay curious, and be excellent to each other!
 
Buffy | mom. gardener. volunteer turned program assistant. a real busy beaver