Mushrooms: you either love them or hate them. I happen to love them. Their earthy flavor can take a simple dish to an elegant level. I love how they can transform a meat lover into a vegetarian (atleast for a night!) and how amazing they taste sauteed in butter. Cooking with fungus is fairly easy but it is important to know how to clean and de-stem mushrooms so that you can thoroughly enjoy what they have to offer. Let me show you the easiest way to prep mushrooms so that your recipe will shine:
There are two camps when it comes to cleaning mushrooms: those who wash them and those who don’t. Many cooks swear that washing mushrooms will cause them to soak up more water and therefore dilute their flavor. They advocate using a small brush to wipe away the dirt and meticulously cleaning them by hand before slicing them. That’s all fine and good and if that’s what you want to do…more power to ya! But I do not have time for that with three rascals running around the house. I’m lucky that I even remembered to buy the mushrooms in the first place. Here’s the kicker, lots of research has been done as to how much water mushrooms actually soak in when washed or plunged in water and the results were minute. Mushrooms are already 90% water and taking a quick bath is not going to change that.
So take your carton of mushrooms and run them under water for a minute or two. I don’t recommend buying pre-sliced mushrooms. Lots of reject pieces and stems get thrown into these boxes and you end up throwing a lot out. That just wastes money and I’m all about keeping my hard earned dollars!
Turn the mushroom over and find the stem.
Place your thumb against the stem and gently push toward your index finger. Be sure to have a good grip.
The stem should pop out in one piece.
Throw the stem into your compost pile and keep the top for slicing. Turn the mushroom bottom down when you slice so that you are not trying to cut a moving fungus. I know, it seems elementary, but this was a step I had to learn in my knife skills class. Always put the object flat side down so it doesn’t move while cutting.
It’s as simple as that! There is no need to over complicate things in the kitchen because cooking needs to be a fun and rewarding time. Now that you know how to clean and de-stem mushrooms, you can make delicious meals like Ginger Chicken Stir-fry or add them to spaghetti sauce. Try sauteeing them in butter for a few minutes and adding them on top of a hamburger. Wowza, that’s one of my favorites! How do you use mushrooms? I would love to hear your ideas!