Mushrooms are a very versatile ingredient and can be used in many different dishes. Its dense, salty flavor is great in sauces, soups and side dishes, while its strong texture makes it easy to pair with meats and recipes with a stronger flavor. Since they grow in the earth and are usually not peeled before going into the pot, they need to be carefully sanitized to remove dirt, mold and bacteria from the outside. There are several ways to wash mushrooms quickly, with little water or friction.
Method 1 of 3: Washing the Mushrooms
Step 1. Prepare the mushrooms for the recipe in question
Cut them in half, into quarters, or remove the cable. Reserve the handles if you intend to use them in another recipe, or leave them to cut or slice after the mushrooms are sanitized.
Cutting the mushrooms into smaller pieces increases the surface area, which means that more parts of the mushroom will be cleaned in the rinse
Step 2. Place the mushrooms in a pasta colander
Take a colander or sieve and place the mushrooms inside. Spread to increase exposure to water. A bath of running water is enough to wash most small, smooth mushrooms such as mushrooms, browns and oysters.
Step 3. Leave the mushrooms in cold water
Turn on the tap and wash the mushrooms in cold (or room temperature) water with medium pressure. Rinse them thoroughly. Shake the drying rack or turn the mushrooms by hand to ensure they are all washed.
- This method is sufficient to quickly wash most mushroom varieties, with the exception of dehydrated ones.
- Even though washing mushrooms is contraindicated by food professionals for stealing the most subtle natural flavors, recent research has shown that washing them does not significantly increase the ingredient's water content.
Step 4. Cut off any remaining dirt or mold
Shake off excess water in the colander and place the mushrooms on a flat surface covered with a paper towel. Use a sharp knife to cut and remove any parts that still have dirt or mold growing.
Because of the high concentration of water and the places where they grow, it is normal for mushrooms to have a bit of mold. But if the mushroom is very moldy, slippery and has a dry and shriveled appearance, it is gone and should not be eaten
Step 5. Dry them with a paper towel
Once the mushrooms are washed, press them down gently with a sheet of paper towel folded in half to absorb the water. Leave them separated and spaced out rather than stacking, so they dry faster. Now they are ready to cut and cook.
Be careful not to crush or damage the mushrooms when drying
Method 2 of 3: Cleaning or Scrubbing Mushrooms by Hand
Step 1. Moisten a paper towel with warm water
Pour some warm water onto a sheet of paper towels. Wipe off excess water and fold or knead to form a tip you can hold when cleaning the mushrooms.
Warm water helps to loosen encrusted sediment
Step 2. Remove dirt from the cover and cable
Use a sheet of paper towels to clean the outside of the cover and cable, including the underside. Pay special attention to areas where dirt and discoloration seem strongest. Moisten another clean sheet of paper when the first one becomes very dirty. Cleaning mushrooms by hand is good if the mushroom has a large surface, which would make the drainer difficult to use.
- This method works best on large, smooth mushrooms such as porcini and portobello, as you won't have to clean a bunch of individual mushrooms by hand.
- Many renowned chefs prefer hand-cleaning rather than washing, as they believe this preserves the mushroom's flavor better.
Step 3. Let the mushrooms dry
Place them on a cutting board or on a paper towel to dry. Cut away the toughest dirt or mildew.
Step 4. Use a brush to scrub textured mushrooms
If the mushrooms you are sanitizing have an uneven texture, use a vegetable brush or a toothbrush to reach all the spots and remove the dirt. Wet the brush bristles and make small, gentle movements to clean the mushroom cap and handle.
- Mushroom brushes have soft bristles and are specifically designed to pick up dirt and grime from ingredients without damaging them.
- If you decide to brush the mushrooms with a toothbrush, use a new one that has bristles soft enough to be brushed over the delicate surface of the mushrooms.
Method 3 of 3: Soaking Mushrooms
Step 1. Soak the dehydrated mushrooms in a liquid
Take them out of the package and place in a bowl of warm water, wine, broth or oil. The mushrooms will float, so push them down to ensure the entire surface is wet. This works for small to medium sized mushrooms, but rougher types may need brushing or washing before soaking, as their porous surfaces tend to contain more sediment.
- Dehydrated varieties, such as shitake, porcini and morel, should be soaked before going to the dish.
- These mushrooms often complement sharp, salty flavors and are great for adding a thick touch to food.
Step 2. Soak the mushrooms for a few minutes
Leave the mushrooms in the liquid for 20 to 30 minutes. As they rehydrate, they will become softer and fleshier. Keep an eye on them during the process - don't let them stay there too long.
Mushrooms that have been soaked for too long will absorb more water than ideal, which will leave them soggy and less flavorful
Step 3. Remove the mushrooms from the sauce and recompose them
Take a spoon and remove the rehydrated mushrooms from the liquid. Place them between layers of paper towels to dry. Do not try to press to get excess water out of the mushrooms as they are still gradually absorbing water. Cut off any parts that are still dirty or moldy.
They must be rehydrated immediately before cooking. Do not rehydrate them for storage and use later
Step 4. Drain and save the sauce liquid
The liquid you used to soak the mushrooms will be infused with their flavor. If you like, keep it to season or prepare other parts of the dish. To do this, drain any sediment that has come out of the mushrooms. Place a paper towel, filter paper, or cheese cheesecloth over the opening of a container and pour the sauce liquid into it. Dirt will be trapped in the filter and can be discarded.
- It is better to keep the sauce liquid when it is wine, oil or broth.
- The mushroom liquid can be frozen and stored for later use in other dishes.
- Use the mushroom sauce liquid to add rich, earthy touches to dishes where mushrooms don't fit or when preparing meals for people who don't like mushrooms.
- Store fresh mushrooms in a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel. This helps keep them ventilated and prevents them from becoming shriveled or dry.
- The handles of common mushrooms, sold in markets, can be consumed without any problem.
- Wash mushrooms immediately before using, rather than leaving them washed for cooking later.
- If mushrooms are very discolored, they may be damaged or partially rotted.
- If you want to pick your own mushrooms, consult a list so that you can distinguish edible species from poisonous or health-threatening ones.
- Always wash mushrooms well before eating, regardless of whether they are cooked or raw.