The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

11:23 PM

Food of the Day - Mushrooms

Posted by Food Pear-ings

Edible Mushrooms

Fungus Facts

*Many mushrooms are very poisonous, so it is important to always know where they came from and never pick wild mushrooms yourself

Mushrooms come is a vast variety in the upwards of 30,000. Most mushrooms are grown commercially but some wild forest mushrooms are available for purchase

Mushrooms are frequently harvested during the rain and is considered optimal conditions
They can be purchased fresh, dried, canned or frozen
What to look for when purchasing fresh:
Firm texture for most is a good identify
Avoid soft spots and uneven color or texture

Cleaning and Storage
Never soak fresh mushrooms in water to clean, you risk diminishing flavor
Use a soft brush under cold water to remove any debris
Fresh mushrooms should be prepared within 3 days of purchase
And stored loosely covered in the refrigerator

When cooking with dried mushrooms  
You will need to soak for about an hour in hot water prior to use
However, if at all possible, always choose fresh mushrooms over dried
for the superior flavor and texture

Some Editable Varieties


A white to light brown button mushroom
With a dome shape
They boast a very richly intense flavor
That fully evolves when cooked
Pleasant when eaten either raw or cooked
These mushrooms
vary in size, shape and color

Chanterelle or Girolle 

Yellowish orange in color 
With a vase shape
Having a nutty and milder flavor
When cooking add late to avoid becoming too chewy
To retain the wonderful flavor, 
be sure not to overcook these mushrooms

Crimini  or Italian Brown 

Light tan to deep brown in color
Another button shaped mushroom
Full bodied and fervent in flavor
This is a very
common mushroom for cooking

Shiitake or Chinese Black Mushroom

Tan to a rich brown in color
With an umbrella shaped cap
A robust flavorful mushroom
Developing a meat like texture when cooked
This mushroom is
very commonly found in Asian cooking


Ranging in color from a soft brown/tan to a grey
With a fluted cap
A smoothly buttery flavor
Due to the tender texture this is a good choice raw
An essential for stir fry and many Asian dishes
It is also used 
to make vegetarian oyster sauce

Enoki or Snow Puff Mushrooms

A pale golden yellow or white in color
With long velvety stems and tiny button heads
A delicate and fruity flavor
Having an almost crisp texture these mushrooms are excellent raw and in salads or on sandwiches
These are often used in Asian soups

Portobello or Portabella

Light to medium brown in color
One of the largest mushrooms, this is an overgrown crimini
A strong earthy flavor
Another on having a “Meat Like” texture
Often used in place of meat on the grill and as a burger substitute 
This meaty mushroom
holds up very well to high-heat cooking


Light to medium brown in color
Toad Stool in shape with a thicker stalk than most comparative to its head
A smooth and meaty texture
A strong poignant flavor
An extravagant endeavor for a beginner due to the price, but worth it!
An excellent addition to most any prepared savory dishes
The thick, meaty stem
on these makes it great to use whole

Morchella (Morel)

(A relative of the ever adored Truffle)
Deep tan to smoky brown
With a sponge-like, cone-shaped head
A pragmatic and nut like flavor
Another expensive guy, but what a treasure
Can be difficult to clean, so take care
Very often used in French cuisine
Note: The darker the head the more pronounced flavor 

Cooking Mushrooms

Be sure to clean your mushrooms thoroughly:
wipe them with a damp cloth or soft brush before use
Remember that mushrooms act like sponges, so don't use too much oil when cooking,
and be sure you do not overcook them,
as they are likely to take in too much liquid, and shrivel.
When slicing mushrooms for cooking,
it is best to cut them into larger chunks; they will shrink as they cook
Choose a mushroom that fits the cooking style:
use heftier, more meaty mushrooms for higher heat, longer cooking applications.

Cooking Idea
Try taking whatever kind of mushrooms are available to you
locally, and sautéing them with oil or butter (or both!)
and adding them
to your favorite pasta sauce
Note: if you have the chance to pick up some 
of the more rare options,
look for morel mushrooms (they have the most exquisite flavor)

Add To Facebook Share with Twitter Stumble This Digg This Add To Add To Reddit Post to Google Buzz Share on Myspace Share with Windows Live Pin It

blog comments powered by Disqus