Mushrooms are wonderful addition to all sorts of dishes – salads, pasta, pizza, casseroles, stir-frys and more. They do however require a little bit of special handling, and we've compiled a few tips here to ensure you get the best flavor and texture from this amazing ingredient.
How to Select Mushrooms
When you're at the grocery store, look for the firmest and largest mushrooms. Mushrooms develop more flavor as they grow, and firmer mushrooms will have a longer fridge life. In most cases, mushrooms arrive at the market shortly after being hand picked. If they appear slimy or overly-moist, shop elsewhere. Also, mushrooms bruise easily, so handle them with care.
How to Store Mushrooms
As soon as you bring them home, remove the plastic wrap on pre-packaged mushrooms and store them in paper bags instead. Placed in your refrigerator's salad crisper, mushrooms stored this way should remain fresh for up to 5 days.
How to Prepare Mushrooms for Cooking
Mushrooms often reach the market covered in a small amount of dirt. Contrary to common belief, you can quickly rinse mushrooms under cold running water just before you're ready to use them. Pat them dry immediately and lightly brush off any dirt that remains. Don't ever soak mushrooms though, as they will absorb moisture like a sponge and give off too much liquid during cooking.
Mushroom Cooking Tips
Sautéeing is probably the most common method of cooking mushrooms. Heat a small amount of butter or oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper if desired and sauté, stirring often, until any liquid they give off has evaporated and they begin to brown – 5 to 7 minutes should do the trick. For best results, don't overcrowd the pan.