Mushroom Cooking Tips : Learn all about mushrooms and how to cook them.

Mushroom Cooking Tips

 

Are you in the dark about mushrooms? Enlighten yourself about this wonderfully tasty fungus, from the basic button mushroom to the more unusual varieties. Once you become familiar with the different mushroom varieties, read on for mushroom cooking tips, facts, history, selection, storage, and health information.

Mushroom Cooking Tips

• Be aware that salt releases the water in mushrooms, so judge the salt usage accordingly for your particular recipe.

• There is no need to peel mushrooms. In fact, peeling mushrooms nullifies most of their flavor. Simply trim off any damaged spots and tough or dirty stems.

• In most cooked recipes, different varieties of mushrooms may be used interchangeably.

• To reconstitute dried mushrooms, cover with warm liquid (water, broth, wine, etc.) and let sit at least 30 minutes. Drain, rinse, and blot on paper towels.

• The liquid used to reconstitute dried mushrooms makes a flavorful addition to soups, stews, and stocks. Strain the liquid through a double thickness of cheesecloth or a clean, unprinted paper towel before using.

• For easy marinated mushrooms, cover cleaned button mushrooms with your favorite vinaigrette, cover and refrigerate for 2 days.

• An egg-slicer makes quick work of slicing mushrooms into uniform pieces.

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• Cut edges of mushrooms will turn dark when exposed to air. When they will be served raw, cut just before serving or wipe the cut edges with lemon juice.

• Mushroom powder can easily be made by grinding dried mushrooms in a spice or coffee grinder, food processor, or heavy-duty blender. Use to flavor soups, stews, stocks, dips, and sauces.

• Avoid aluminum pans when cooking light-colored mushrooms. The aluminum will discolor the mushrooms.

• Since mushrooms contain so much water, no additional liquid is needed when cooking them in a microwave. Do not cover.

• Don’t throw away mushroom stems, if you only need the caps. Trim and freeze them to use in soups and stocks.

How to Buy Mushrooms

For common mushrooms, choose those with a firm texture and even color with tightly-closed caps. If the gills are showing, it’s an indication of age, and they are probably past their prime. Discolored, broken and damaged mushrooms with soft spots should be avoided.

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If you are cooking mushrooms whole, choose those that are uniform in size to promote even cooking.

How to Store Mushrooms

Store mushrooms in your refrigerator crisper where they can benefit from cool air circulation. Keep partially covered to prevent them from drying out, but never store packaged mushrooms without venting. Paper bags are a good storage alternative.

Most fresh mushrooms should be used within three to four days.

Dried mushrooms should be soaked in hot water or part of the recipe cooking liquid for about an hour before using. Let debris sink to the bottom and use the clear remaining liquid in the recipe for additional flavor.

Mushrooms may also be canned or frozen for future use.

How to Clean Mushrooms

Mushrooms are extremely porous and soak up water like a sponge. Because they are mostly water, do not soak fresh mushrooms for an extended period of time.

Since commercially-available mushrooms are grown in a sterile medium, invest in a soft mushroom brush and simply brush away any clinging growing medium rather than washing with water. If you must, wipe them with a damp paper towel.

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Mushroom Facts

There are over 38,000 varieties of mushrooms available, over 3,000 in North America alone, with varying colors, textures and flavors. Some are so rare that they only grow for one week during the year.

They grow wild in many areas, but most mushrooms on the market are commercially-grown on farms. Mushrooms do not depend upon photosynthesis to grow. They need only rain and moderate temperatures to proliferate. The best mushroom harvesting is done while it is raining.

Warning! Many mushrooms are poisonous

Some areas are known for their prized wild mushrooms, but it is most important that you research your target thoroughly if you intend to harvest your own wild mushrooms because many are highly toxic and life-threatening.

Please do not rely upon any casual column to determine toxicity of wild mushrooms. The danger inherent in many poisonous varieties of mushrooms cannot be over-stressed.

Unless you are well-educated in all types of mushrooms, particularly in identification of poisonous ones, it is wise to purchase your mushrooms from a reputable grower or grocer rather than hunting them yourself.

A simple identification error can lead to symptoms of sweating, cramps, diarrhea, confusion, convulsions, and potentially result in liver damage with a mortality rate of 60 percent or higher.

Why take the chance?

Mushroom History

Mushrooms are of the fungi family subdivision of Basidiomycotina, of the class Hymenomycetes. The word mushroom† is derived from the Gallo-Roman mussiro† which evolved to mussereroun in Middle English.

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There are so many varieties of mushrooms, both edible and toxic, that mass consumption is pretty much limited to those commercially-grown varieties which can be trusted to be edible.

In the eighteenth century, France began cultivating mushrooms resembling the basic mushroom that we all buy at the market.

Prior to 1940, the most widely available mushroom was the Italian brown, now known as the cremini mushroom. From this early lust for fungi arose the taste for more exotic mushrooms, including shiitake, enoki, oyster, morels, cepes, chanterelles, and more.

Mushrooms and Health

Recent studies have shown shiitake and reishi mushrooms are potential cancer-fighters. Reishi extracts have been shown to stop the growth of cancerous tumors and also produce an antihistamine action which can help to control allergies.

Shiitake mushrooms contain a compound called lentinan, which is being used as a cancer treatment in Japan.

Mushrooms are also a good source of riboflavin and niacin and contain no fat or cholesterol.

I hope you have been enlightened by these mushroom cooking tips and additional information. Enjoy your mushrooms!

Mushroom Cooking Tips Recipe Photo ©2023 BlackieShoot_Unsplash

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Mushroom Cooking Tips
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Mushroom Cooking Tips
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Mushroom Cooking Tips help you make the best of your mushrooms for the table, plus additional facts, cleaning, and info on poisonous varieties.
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Peg's Home Cooking

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