Francesca's comments

"Hello, Maangchi... You've been my Teacher for about three years, but this is the first time I've written to ask you a question. Your instructions are so complete I've never had to ask one before- but this isn't exactly about a recipe... Here goes! I'm trying to learn how to gather, process, and dry bracken for kosari... I live in Washington State and am gathering bracken for experimenting with. So far, I've soaked overnight (with soda), rinsed, boiled in fresh water, and put to dry about ten pounds but I have no idea if I'm doing it right. Can you help with the old way that Korean people handled and dried the bracken after gathering? I'm hoping you might know about this from your Mother/ Grandmother, or if not, that you might know someone else who's willing to share the knowledge! There aren't any instructions online- just a few casual references...For example, I read that in Korea the ferns were either soaked or boiled with wood ashes, but no mention of what kind, or when/why/how much to add. I think this was done to remove bitterness/toxins-? My questions are: 1) How much of the fresh stalk can be used? 2) Should I presoak them in cold water overnight before cooking? (With/without ashes/soda???) 3) What's the story with the wood ashes? 4) Should I cut the stalks in half before soaking/cooking, or leave them whole? 5) How long should I boil them?Is it a matter of proper texture/feel?- should they be "squishy"??? 6) I notice that dried kosari from the market is pretty thin...should I crush the thicker stalks while boiling so they'll sort of splinter apart? Any help you can give will be much appreciated. Thanks, I hope! Francesca"
in Fernbrake (Gosari) — May/12