Edible fungi, mushrooms are mostly water, but they contain powerful flavor compounds—ranging from earthy and peppery to cinnamony and sweet—that enhance other foods. They also are a good source of B vitamins, antioxidants like selenium, and minerals like potassium.
Prized for a fruity aroma, chanterelles range from yellow, orange, and brown to pale white or black.
Similar to white mushrooms but with a firmer texture and deeper flavor, creminis are actually immature portobellos.
Velvety and trumpet-shaped, oyster mushrooms have delicate brown, gray, or reddish caps on gray-white stems.
Up to 6 inches across, portobellos have a big, steak-like taste and texture.
With meaty tan to dark-brown umbrella-like caps, shiitakes have a distinctively smoky flavor and taste best when cooked.
The most common type, white mushrooms range in size from tiny to jumbo.
How to Choose Mushrooms
Look for plump, firm, smooth-looking mushrooms whose surfaces are dry but not dried out. Tightly closed gills indicate a younger, fresher mushroom with a milder flavor. Those with open gills have a richer, more developed flavor but a shorter shelf life.
How to Store Mushrooms
Refrigerated, mushrooms should last up to 7 days; whole mushrooms last much longer than sliced. Remove any plastic wrapping and store them in a paper bag to prevent moisture build-up and spoilage. Handle them carefully, as they bruise easily. Fresh mushrooms should never be frozen.
How to Prepare Mushrooms
Brush dirt off relatively clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel or your fingers. Dirtier ones can be rinsed quickly in cold water, then patted dry; don’t soak them, because they absorb moisture. Trim the bottoms of edible stems or break off tough stems, then slice. White mushrooms are frequently eaten raw, though cooking enhances their flavor. Cook mushrooms slowly for the best taste.
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