Have you ever gone for a hike and seen funky giant red and white polka-dotted mushrooms in the forest?
Don’t eat them!
Some people like to forage for wild mushrooms but personally I like to stick to the grocery store or farmers market kind.
So here’s a little info on how to buy, store, and prepare mushrooms.
What are the best mushrooms to buy?
There are many fun varieties to choose from, depending on where you shop. But the most commonly available are white button, brown button (aka baby-bella or crimini), and portabella so I’m going to focus on those.
Fresh mushrooms are available in the produce section throughout the year and may be found in bulk or in cello-wrapped trays. They are typically available whole or sliced and some may be triple-rinsed and ready-to-eat.
Look for mushrooms that are firm, plump, and uniform in color with a slightly shiny surface.
Avoid those that are wrinkled or have wet slimy spots but don’t worry about particles of peat moss on some of the mushrooms – it is completely harmless and can be brushed off.
Dried mushrooms are also an option available year-round – ask your store if you need help locating them.
How should I store my mushrooms?
Fresh mushrooms should be stored in the refrigerator in a paper bag. If you buy them packaged, leave them as is but transfer them to a paper bag once opened so they last longer.
They are best if used within a few days of purchase but can be kept for a week or longer.
Finally, do not wash mushrooms until you are ready to use them.
If you aren’t able to use your mushrooms within a week, sauté and freeze them for later use. Do not try to freeze fresh raw mushrooms because they will be gross.
Dried mushrooms should be stored in a tightly sealed container in either the refrigerator or freezer for up to one year.
How do I prepare mushrooms?
When you are ready to use your mushrooms, wipe with a damp cloth or mushroom brush or rinse in cold water and pat dry with a clean towel. Do not soak them because they can easily absorb water and become soggy.
You can use whole mushrooms, slices, or just the cap. If using the whole mushroom, you may want to cut off the very bottom of the stem if it is spongy, dry, or discolored. To remove the stem, wiggle and gently break it off with your hand. Wiggling your bum also helps.
You can choose to eat your mushrooms raw or cook them any number of ways. Try sautéing them, stuffing and baking them, or adding them to sauces or casseroles.
What can I make with my mushrooms?
When I asked friends to share their favorite mushroom recipes, here’s some of what I heard:
— Kiss the Cook (@kisstheecook) April 3, 2013
Here’s a recipe for mushrooms en papillote from Williams-Sonoma – I don’t think I’ve ever had mushrooms this way but it sounds delicious!
Check out some of her other slow-cooker adventures on her blog, What A Crock (Pot).
Can’t argue with that!
— Christy Wilson (@ChristysChomp) April 4, 2013
I’m glad we’re all on the same page here!
For more ideas, check out my Mushroom Recipes board on Pinterest.
I’d love to hear any great mushroom ideas you have too!
- Mushrooms (projecteatme.wordpress.com)