Cleaning mushrooms can be a tricky process. If done incorrectly, you risk stripping away essential vitamins and minerals, as well as the texture and flavor. Fortunately, there are simple and effective ways to clean mushrooms without losing any of their nutritious benefits. In this blog post, we will provide you with a step by step guide on how to clean mushrooms the right way, so you can enjoy all the amazing health benefits they have to offer. Read on to learn more!
The Proper Way To Clean Mushrooms
Different chefs, cooking blogs, and mentors may provide varying advice on how to clean mushrooms. However, it is generally unnecessary to peel most mushrooms as it can reduce their flavor.
The debate on whether to brush or wash mushrooms continues, with proponents on both sides. Ultimately, your choice will depend on the source and type of mushrooms, as well as how you intend to use them.
It is important to clean mushrooms, whether they are store-bought or wild, to remove any dirt, bacteria, insects, or mold. While some suggest avoiding washing mushrooms to prevent them from becoming waterlogged and soggy, a quick rinse is effective in getting rid of debris and excess water.
In fact, 150 grams (5.29 ounces) of mushrooms can only absorb about 5 grams (0.18 ounces) of water, which will cook off in the pan. However, if you plan on serving your mushrooms raw, you may want to take additional precautions.
Best Way To Clean Mushrooms That You're Serving Raw
When making salads that call for raw sliced mushrooms or crunchy enoki mushrooms, it's best to avoid rinsing them with water unless it's necessary.
Rinsing wild mushrooms, in particular, can cause discoloration, which is unappealing when serving them raw. Instead, use a dry pastry brush, toothbrush, or paper towel to remove any loose dust and debris.
Additionally, trim off any crusted dirt or damaged sections of the mushroom using a paring knife. It's generally recommended to cook mushrooms before consuming them as cooking helps break down the chitin, a fibrous substance made of polysaccharides in the cell walls of raw mushrooms.
Chitin is challenging for humans to digest, but cooking breaks it down, making it easier for us to access all the healthy nutrients found in mushrooms. Cooking mushrooms before consumption also destroys agaratine, a carcinogenic toxin present in some mushrooms.
How to Properly Clean Mushrooms for Cooking?
You might be wondering if it's necessary to wash mushrooms before cooking them, as cooking can eliminate many of the toxins and bacteria they might contain.
While commercially grown mushrooms are cultivated on sterile manure that's safe to eat, small bits of grit can spoil your mushroom dish. Additionally, insects and debris may be concealed in the mushroom's gills.
Depending on the variety of mushroom, you could brush away the dirt, but washing them in water is usually faster and more efficient.
It's essential to wash mushrooms just before cooking them, regardless of the type of mushroom. This is because when washed, mushrooms absorb water and are more prone to spoilage and mold growth.
Here are some step-by-step instructions on how to clean mushrooms before cooking them.
A Comprehensive Guide on How to Clean Whole Mushrooms
If you're planning to cook mushrooms, such as baking, sauteing, or roasting them, you have more flexibility on how wet they can get than when you're serving mushrooms raw.
You should clean different types of mushrooms differently to ensure that they're safe to eat and maintain their original flavor and texture. If you're unsure how to clean white mushrooms, you can follow the three steps below.
Here are the three steps you can use to clean most types of whole mushrooms, except for morel mushrooms:
Step 1: Trimming
Start by trimming off any damaged sections, stubborn clumps of dirt, and inedible, tough stems. Wild mushrooms require more trimming than commercially grown mushrooms.
For example, some wild mushrooms, such as hedgehog mushrooms, may have dirt attached to the base of the stem that doesn't brush off easily. To save as much of the stem flesh as possible, use a knife to trim the dirty bits off the base of the stem in the same way you would sharpen a pencil.
Step 2: Washing
A quick rinse is the easiest, quickest, and most effective way to clean most types of mushrooms. If your mushrooms are store-bought and not visibly dirty, you may not need to clean them at all, or a light brushing will do.
For mushrooms that require washing, there are two methods you can use, depending on your preference and the type of mushroom. But, remember not to soak mushrooms, as they only require a quick rinse or dunk. Here are the two methods:
Running Water Method
Rinse each mushroom individually under cool running water while rubbing dirty spots with your fingers.
Place all the mushrooms in a colander or strainer under cool running water, then shake the colander gently to move the mushrooms around and dislodge dirt.
Place whole mushrooms in the basket of a salad spinner and rinse them with running water until all debris has been removed.
Place your mushrooms in a bowl of cool water and swish them around to dislodge dirt and debris.
Remove the mushrooms from the bowl as soon as they're clean, usually in less than a minute, to avoid getting them waterlogged.
Step 3: Drying
Before cooking, ensure that your mushrooms are dry. Firm mushrooms can be gently patted dry with a clean kitchen cloth or paper towel, while more delicate mushrooms should be laid out to dry on kitchen towels or a paper-towel-lined baking sheet.
If you use a salad spinner to rinse your mushrooms, first spin them dry, then use paper towels to remove any remaining water.
To clean morel mushrooms, follow these four steps:
Step 1: Shaking
Shake the morels in a paper bag, lidded bowl, or colander to loosen and remove as much dirt as possible.
Step 2: Slicing
Slice the morels in half lengthways from tip to stem with a small, sharp knife, making it easier to clean inside the hollow stem.
Step 3: Rinsing
Put the sliced and trimmed morels into a bowl of cold water and swish them around to loosen any remaining dirt. Repeat until no more dirt comes off the morels.
Step 4: Drying
When the morels are clean, pat them dry with a paper towel before cooking. Some people like to soak morels in lightly salted water after the first rinse to kill any insects.
How To Properly Clean Sliced Mushrooms
Cleaning sliced mushrooms purchased from the supermarket differs from cleaning whole mushrooms. If you bought pre-sliced mushrooms, they may have already been cleaned and may not require much washing. It's important to note that sliced or chopped mushrooms are more likely to absorb water than whole mushrooms, so avoid washing them if they appear clean.
To clean sliced mushrooms, follow these steps:
Step 1: Shake the mushrooms in a colander to loosen any dirt.
Step 2: Rinse the mushrooms quickly with cold, running water.
Step 3: Dry the mushrooms thoroughly with a clean kitchen cloth or paper towels before cooking them immediately.
The Proper Way to Clean Mushrooms for Stuffing
Portobello mushrooms are a popular choice for stuffed mushrooms due to their large caps, but you can also use large white mushrooms or cremini mushrooms.
Follow these steps to clean portobello mushrooms for stuffing:
Step 1: Trimming
Start by removing the stem. Usually, portobello stems snap off easily, but if necessary, you can use a small sharp knife to cut the stem where it meets the cap.
Keep the stems, as they can be chopped up and used in the stuffing or frozen for later use. Mushroom stems are packed with flavor and can be used in various ways. Also, trim any damaged or bruised sections of the mushroom cap.
Step 2: Removing gills
The next step is to remove the gills. Hold the portobello in your hand with the gills facing up, and use a spoon to scrape off the gills lightly. They will come off easily, and if you miss any, you can scrape around the mushroom again.
Step 3: Rinsing
Once you have removed all the gills, quickly rinse the portobello cap under running water. This will remove any remnants of gills as well as any dirt on the top.
Step 4: Drying
Finally, pat the cap dry with a clean cloth or paper towel, and your portobello mushrooms are ready to be stuffed.
A Guide to Properly Clean Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms are a preferred variety among mushroom enthusiasts for their ease of cultivation. Growing them in bags or buckets is hassle-free and doesn't create much mess.
Unlike other types of mushrooms, oyster mushrooms grow on substrates such as wood, cardboard, or coffee grounds and are not exposed to dirt. This makes cleaning them before cooking a breeze.
A gentle wipe with a paper towel is usually sufficient for cleaning oyster mushrooms. If you prefer washing them, a quick rinse under running water will suffice, followed by drying on a clean towel.
Proper Storage Techniques for Cleaned Mushrooms
Mushrooms are best cleaned right before cooking as washing them can increase the risk of sliminess, mold, or rot. However, if necessary, you can keep clean and dry mushrooms in the fridge for up to a day.
To store washed mushrooms, place them in a vegetable plastic bag with holes, a slightly open zipper bag, or a container covered with plastic wrap with small holes. If stored correctly, fresh mushrooms can last up to a week in the fridge.
Loose mushrooms from a farmer's market should be stored in a container just big enough for them and covered with plastic wrap with a few small holes or in a partially open bag to allow for air circulation and escape of ethylene gas. Store mushrooms in the main compartment of the fridge and avoid stacking anything on top of them to prevent bruising.
If buying mushrooms in a plastic tray, store them in their original packaging. Leaving them shrink-wrapped can keep them fresh for at least a week without browning.
To ensure a safe and enjoyable eating experience free from grit or insects, it's important to clean mushrooms thoroughly, especially if you're feeding them to your baby. A quick rinse in cold water is an effective way to clean most mushrooms without causing them to become waterlogged. However, it's essential to make sure they are completely dry before cooking to preserve their unique flavor and texture.