An Edible Forest Floor/ Pickled Mushrooms, Parsley Moss and Walnut Soil

I made an edible forest floor for the Earth course of the Garden of Alchemy Dinner in late October. Each course of the dinner was inspired and evoked by one of the alchemical elements (Water, Air, Fire, Earth). You can see photos of the event and access the complete menu in this post!

photo by Erin K Orr

The Pickled Mushrooms, Parsley Moss and Walnut Soil that I’m sharing here were just a few of the elements on the plate for the Earth Course. They were plated along side Horseradish Beet Geodes Buried in Porcini Kasha & Confit Carrot tree stumps with tarragon shoots.

photo by Erin K Orr

For each of the courses we created spell cards which served the double purpose of letting the diners know what was in each dish, and guiding them to use the ritual of eating to set specific intentions. I was particularly proud of the Earth Spell.

The Horseradish Beet and Porcini Kasha salad and these Mushrooms with Parsley Moss and Walnut Soil were actually both dishes that I invented for my Estonian Werewolf Dinner! That project is still in development but you can read more about it in this post. All of that is to say that making food that evokes the forest is something that I like to do!

For the Estonian Werewolf Dinner, the Pickled Mushrooms with Parsley Moss and Walnut Soil were served family style as a separate dish.

However you plate and serve them, ther earthy tart mushrooms, herbal parsley and sweet, rich walnuts balance each other perfectly, so be sure to get a bit of each to have in a bite together!

For the Pickled Mushrooms

Make at least 24 hours in advance


  • 1 pound button mushrooms, petite if possible
  • 1 and 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 and 3/4 cups water
  • 3 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of dried chili flakes
  •  3 whole cloves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • one good pinch of salt


  1. Wipe the mushrooms clean and  trim the stems down. If you want to plate them as if they are growing out of the soil, take care to trim them flat so that they will stand. Save the trimmings for making stock.
  2. In a medium size pan, combine the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil over medium high heat. When boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and add the mushrooms and cook for 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat. 
  3. Lift the mushrooms out of the vinegar solution. Cool the mushrooms and vinegar separately. And then combine them together in a jar. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

For the Parsley Moss

This makes 3/4 cup


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
  • the zest of a lemon
  • 1/4-1/2  tsp salt


  1. Bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Rinse the parsley and chop off the roots.  Prepare a bowl of cold water with icecubes.
  2. Drop the parsley (stems and all) in the boiling water and let them blanch for 10-15 seconds (until the just turn bright green.  Strain them and then transfer to the ice bath.
  3. Squeeze all of the liquid out of the parsley and blend it up with the oil. Season with salt to taste until there is no bitterness.

For the Edible Soil

This makes 1 cup


  • 1 cups toasted walnuts
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink sea salt
  • 2  Tablespoons chives

Directions– process the nuts by chopping or in a blender or food processor until they resemble fine soil. Mix in the other ingredients.

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