Featured Ingredient – Mushrooms

Our mushroom tutorial gives buying and cooking tips, the different types of mushrooms and a mountain of marvelous mushroom recipes.

We love mushrooms, shitakes, crimini, portabellos, oysters, enoki, even plain old “ordinary” whiteEnoki Mushrooms mushrooms. Mushrooms pack a HUGE flavor punch, without adding much in the way of calories or fat. They’re incredibly versatile, equally at home for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Nutritionally speaking, mushrooms have only 20 calories per five medium sized mushrooms, no fat, no cholesterol and no sodium. They are also a good sources of riboflavin (as much as an 8 ounce glass of milk), fiber, niacin, pantothenate and copper.

Buying Mushrooms

When buying mushrooms look for smooth, firm caps that are free from major blemishes. While the surface of mushrooms should be dry, they should not be dried, or shriveled.

Shriveled mushrooms are way past their prime. Ditto those with a “slimy” surface.

Storing Mushrooms

Fresh mushrooms should be refrigerated and used as soon as possible. You can prolong their life by removing the outer plastic wrap and covering them with a paper towel. Moisture buildup is the enemy of mushrooms, so it is better to store them in paper, as opposed to plastic, bags.

Mushrooms generally do not freeze well, but if you must freeze them, sauté first in a little butter or oil, let cool, then freeze in an air tight container for up to one month.

Cleaning Mushrooms

It is best to clean mushrooms with a damp cloth or a soft brush, but you can alternately place them in a colander or strainer and rinse quickly. Never soak mushrooms because they are very porous and will absorb too much water. Both caps and stems are edible in most varieties of mushrooms. Two exceptions to this rule are the stems of shitakes and portabellos, which are simply too tough.

If you only want mushroom caps, it is very simple to remove the stems, simply twist them loose. Don’t throw the stems out though, they are great to use in sauces, stuffings, sautés or vegetable stocks.

Cooking Mushrooms

The amount of time you cook a mushroom will determine its final texture. A shorter cooking time will yield a delicately textured mushroom. Longer cooking time will result in a denser, meatier, chewier mushroom.

This is because the longer it cooks, the more moisture the mushroom loses.

SEE: Focus on Portobello Mushrooms

Mushroom Recipes

We want to thank the Mushroom Council for sharing some really great recipes with us. Some of the recipes below even do double duty.

What this means to you, the busy cook, is that the first recipe plans for leftovers that can be used to make the second! Double duty recipes such as these can save tons of time in the kitchen, as well as cut down on “boring leftover syndrome”.

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