Ingredient Secret: Mushrooms

by Erin Thursby
The mushroom is one of the best standbys for both vegetarian cooking and hearty meat filled dishes.
The most popular variety of mushroom found in the supermarket is the button mushroom. Like many mushrooms, it gains in flavor when it is cooked, and is an excellent “sponge” of flavor that soaks up sauces and broths.
When choosing mushrooms look for firm, smooth and plump mushrooms. Because mushrooms do soak up water so readily, you’ll never want to place them under running water to rinse them off as you would other produce. Instead use a damp paper towel to brush away any dirt. If you must place it under a tap, make it brief, no longer than two seconds, and immediately use a paper towel to pat it dry.
Mushrooms will keep for up to week in the fridge. Keep them in their packaging till you’re ready to use them. Once you do, don’t place in a closed plastic baggie. Condensation is the enemy of mushrooms and since a closed baggie causes condensation, your mushrooms with go bad faster. Instead store it in a paper bag or wrap well with paper towels.
You should never freeze raw mushrooms. They have a lot of liquid in them and tend to turn to mush when defrosted. While it is possible to freeze raw mushrooms with a good result, it’s a lot of trouble and is just not worth it. Instead, go ahead and saute the mushrooms before freezing them for the best results.
When preparing mushrooms, check the stems for toughness and dryness. Chop off the dry bits before cooking. To retain the delicate texture of a mushroom before it is cooked, add it at the last minute. The more time a mushroom is cooked, the denser it becomes. You’ll notice that they thicken and contract as they are cooked.
Larger capped mushrooms such as portabella hold up well to grilling. Button mushrooms can be grilled on a kabob, just make sure to brush them with a marinade.
Sauteing is the most popular method of cooking mushrooms, but one shouldn’t discount roasting. Roast by tossing with a little oil. (I like a combo of chili oil and sesame oil). Then put the mushrooms in either whole or just halved in a 450 degree oven.
For everything you ever wanted to know about mushrooms (and some things you didn’t know you wanted to know) go to the website Type in the type of mushroom you want to try and they’ll have a recipe for you!

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october, 2021