Select for this purpose, if they can be procured, the smallest buttons of the wild or meadow mushrooms, in preference to those which are artificially raised, and let them be as freshly gathered as possible. Cut the stems off quite close, and clean them with a bit of new flannel slightly moistened, and dipped in fine salt; throw them as they are done into plenty of spring-water, mixed with a large spoonful of salt, but drain them from it quickly afterwards, and lay them into a soft cloth to dry, or the moisture which hangs about them will too much weaken the pickle. For each quart of the mushrooms thus prepared, take nearly a quart of the palest white wine vinegar (this is far superior to the distilled vinegar generally used for the purpose, and the variation in the colour of the mushrooms will be very slight), and add to it a heaped teaspoonful of salt, half an ounce of whole white pepper, an ounce of ginger, sliced or lightly bruised, about the fourth of a saltspoonful of cayenne, tied in a small bit of muslin, and two large blades of mace; to these may be added half a small nutmeg, sliced; but too much spice will entirely overpower the fine natural flavour of the mushrooms.
When the pickle boils, throw them in, and boil them in it over a clear fire moderately fast from six to nine minutes, or somewhat longer, should they not be very small. When they are much disproportioned in size, the larger ones should have two minutes boil before the others are thrown into the vinegar. As soon as they are tolerably tender, put them at once into small stone jars, or into warm wide-necked bottles, and divide the spice equally amongst them. The following day, or as soon as they are perfectly cold, secure them from the air with large corks, or tie skins and paper over them. They should be stored in a dry place, and guarded from severe frost. When the colour of the mushrooms is more considered than the excellence of the pickle, the distilled vinegar can be used for it. The reader may rely upon this receipt as a really good one; we have had it many times proved, and it is altogether our own.
Mushroom-buttons (without the stems), 2 quarts; palest white wine vinegar, short 1/2 gallon; salt, large dessertspoonful, or 1 1/2 oz.; white peppercorns, 1 oz.; whole ginger, 2 ozs.; cayenne, small 1/2 saltspoonful; 1 small nutmeg.