Selectingmushrooms

Avoid withered mushrooms, since this is a sign of age. Mushrooms that look bright and attractive are generally a good sign of being fresh. An open “veil” around the base of the cap is also a sign of old age, but not necessarily a bad choice. Open “veil” mushrooms are usually richer in flavor and are good sautéed and in sauces.

Varieties Appearance Flavor

White/Button

Vary in size form button to jumbo; vary in color from creamy white to light brown

Mild, woody, is delicate when raw, but intensifies when cooked

Crimini

Similar to white mushrooms, ranging in color from light tan to deep brown

Deeper, earthier than white mushrooms

Morel

Tan, yellow or black in color with stems that are squat, thick and hollow and sponge-like caps

Nutty, woody

Oyster

Fluted, color ranging from light brown to gray

Delicate, mild

Portabella

Much like white mushrooms, but very large

Deep, dense and meaty

Shitake

Wide caps, color ranging from tan to dark brown

Woodsy, meaty

Storing

Fresh mushrooms should be stored unwashed in the refrigerator where they can be kept for two or three days. Mushrooms should be kept in a brown paper bag instead of a plastic bag where the moisture can be trapped and make them slimy.

Preparation

Mushrooms should be washed just before using and patted dry. Mushrooms will turn dark if cut and not prepared quickly, but by adding a little lemon juice during cooking they can be prevented from darkening. Mushrooms do not have to be peeled, they can be cut into pieces or sautéed whole. Mushrooms add zest and flavor to gravies, sauces, soups and casserole dishes. They are a fine food in their own right when served as a vegetable or a main dish. Their delicate flavor blends well with other foods.


Nutrition Information


Mushrooms are low in sodium and are recommended for special diets. They contain only 90 calories per pound, while their satiety value give the dieter a sense of having eaten well. Mushrooms provide a relatively good source of protein, phosphorus, iron, and other minerals.