Cleaning fruits and vegetables before consuming them is the most basic kitchen rule. It is imperative to clean and wash them to ensure food hygiene and safety. One such vegetable that requires thorough cleaning is the mushroom. Its earthy and robust texture allows it to be a part of several dishes, making it a versatile ingredient. But considering these fungi are grown in the wild and do not require peeling, it is important to clean them to remove dirt, bacteria and mold from their outer surface.
Chef Amit Bhatia from The Sassy Spoon in Mumbai shares his trick to clean mushrooms, “We take button mushrooms in a bowl, pour some water, add a pinch of salt and a little flour and mix it. After a few seconds, we drain the water and rinse it in running water again to ensure mushrooms are clean enough and no mud is left sticking inside. After this process, we take a clean cloth and pat dry the mushrooms. Make sure there is no moisture left on the inside. For other mushrooms like oyster or shiitake, we rinse them under running water and immediately put them on a clean cloth to dry.” Different types of mushrooms may need to be cleaned in different ways so as to make sure that they are safe to consume and also not to destroy their texture.
Types of edible mushrooms and ways to clean them
1. Button Mushroom
Button mushrooms are the most common types of mushrooms that are used in most cuisines. They are also known as white button mushrooms and are they are readily available all year round. You can use them in soups, salads or just sauté them lightly with some herbs. Here’s how you can clean them:
- Place the mushrooms in a bowl and sprinkle some flour all over the mushrooms.
- Cover the bowl with a lid and toss it well so that the mushrooms are fully coated with the flour.
- Once done, place the mushroom upside down and peel off the upper thin layer from the bottom to the center.
- The flour lets the layer come off easily and makes it cleaner. Once all the mushrooms are peeled, rinse it with water and pat dry.
(Also read: A Beginner’s Guide to Picking Mushrooms)
Button mushrooms are the most common types of mushrooms that are used in most cuisines
2. Morel Mushroom
While a button mushroom or a portabella or oyster can be rinsed with water, morel mushrooms cannot be treated the same way, as they are consumed crispy and would become lumpy and soft after washing. They are distinctive and have a honeycomb appearance and are mostly used in French cuisine. Here’s how you can clean them:
- Place the morel mushrooms in a bowl and cover the bowl with a lid. Shake the bowl vigorously to knock out the dirt from the morels. Make sure you don’t break them in the process. You can do the same in a brown paper bag.
- Take a bristled brush and wipe off the dirt or debris from the inner portion.
They are distinctive and have a honeycomb appearance
3. Portabella Mushrooms
Portabella mushrooms belong to the same family as button mushrooms. However, the difference lies in the colour on the cap and has gills beneath it. Here’s how you should clean them:
- First of all, remove the stem of the mushroom. These stems are woody and fibrous and are generally thrown away.
- Once you have removed the stems, you would be required to scrape the gills with a spoon.
- Clean the rest of the debris and mud with a brush and you are good to go.
Portabella mushrooms belong to the same family as button mushrooms
4. Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms taste amazing when sauteed or grilled. Here’s how you can clean them:
- Slice the stem off.
- Brush off the dirt from the mushroom or rub them with a dry paper towel.
- If you still think they are dirty, rinse them under running water and make sure you don’t keep them in water for too long. This may make them lumpy and gooey.
Shiitake mushrooms taste amazing when sauteed or grilled
5. Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms are the easiest to clean. They are all bundled into on to one stem, so all you need to do is use the tip of a knife to cut around the firm central stem and you will see the individual mushrooms fall away. Discard the stem as it isn’t used in cooking. Wipe the mushrooms with a paper towel and use a toothpick to remove any insect from the gills underneath.
Let us know if you have any more tricks to clean your mushrooms.