Mushroom Care Guide

Mushroom Care Guide

Mushrooms, or funghi, are commonly used ingredients in culinary traditions around the world. Used as the main dish, on the side, or as a topping, these versatile treasures can be sautéed, broiled, roasted, baked, grilled, braised, or stewed! Whether it’s a Royal Oyster or a tiny Cremini, it’s important to know how to care for delicate mushrooms.

In the market, you can tell a mushroom is fresh if it is firm, plump, and free of blemishes with no visible moisture. Beware of slimy and spotted mushrooms, as they may be past their prime!

Once you get home, do not wash the mushrooms before you plan to use them. The majority of varieties may be stored in their original packaging or a brown paper bag to keep them dry and fresh. A paper bag will keep the mushrooms from drying too quickly, while allowing excess moisture to evaporate and soak up into the bag instead of trapped in the mushrooms.

Because mushrooms are extremely porous, they should be exposed to as little water as possible. Waterlogged mushrooms can become slimy, rubbery, and gain an overall unpleasant texture with a muted flavor.

If your mushrooms are not visibly dirty, it’s perfectly fine to eat them without cleaning. “But Eataly, mushrooms grow in the ground!” Even so, some chefs will swear by leaving mushrooms in their most natural state. This being said, if your funghi have visible dirt on them, feel free to clean them in the proper way.

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First things first: are you eating them raw or cooked?

If you’re eating them raw, say, on a salad, it really is best to keep them as dry as possible. If you see a little dirt, simply rub it off with a dry paper towel, and remove any stubborn clumps with a paring knife. After that, they’re ready to eat!

If you’re cooking your funghi, the rules aren’t quite as strict. In general, the recommended way to clean mushrooms is by hand (but hands off that mushroom brush!) with a damp paper towel. This minimizes the amount of water the mushroom can soak up, and also allows for efficient dirt removal.

For those in more of a daring mood or who have less time to spare, you can also rinse your mushrooms individually, rubbing dirty spots with your fingers and placing them on a stack of paper towels to absorb any excess water. While rinsing will not make mushrooms drastically swell with moisture, do not soak your mushrooms or leave them under running water for too long. Remember: mushrooms are extremely porous; no one likes a soggy mushroom.

Whether you choose to leave them dry, clean them with a damp paper towel, or rinse them ever so briefly, the best part is enjoying them, especially with risotto or pappardelle!

mushrooms and pasta at Eataly

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