What to Do with Mushrooms

 

Often in the market stalls you will see green grocers selling boxes of fresh mushrooms at amazingly low prices because the mushrooms need to be used as quickly as possible—in other words, they should be used that day or the next. Go ahead and stock up! You can make them last with these tips:

  • If you want your mushrooms to last as long as possible, don't wash them before storing. Put them in the refrigerator in a breathable paper bag that keeps the light out. Mushrooms tend to spoil more quickly when kept in air-tight containers or covered with plastic. They last longest when they're cool, dark, and dry.
  • You can also freeze most mushrooms very successfully. Simply skin the mushrooms, chop them up (if they are large), and place them in a zipper bag in the freezer. The next time you're making a stew, soup, or other dish that would be yummy with mushrooms, just toss in the contents of the bag (no need to defrost) and cook everything as you normally would.
  • You can also freeze mushrooms after they've been cooked. Just slice your mushrooms, saute them in a little oil or butter, and allow them too cool. Freeze the sauteed mushrooms in a zipper bag or an air-tight container.

Don't get mushrooms wet—like strawberries, they absorb water. If your fresh mushrooms are a little dirty, brush them off lightly with a damp cloth just before cooking or serving them.

When preparing mushrooms, you don't need to cut the stems off unless your mushrooms' stems are dry or you're using shiitakes, portobellos, or other mushrooms that have really tough stems. Most mushrooms have stems with a good texture and flavor, so go ahead and use the whole mushroom in your meals.

If you do want to remove the stems (maybe you're making stuffed mushroom caps or another recipe that calls for the caps only), they will usually pop right out when you give them a little twist.

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