Mad About Mushrooms?

Mushrooms are one of the world great delights – at least for some people. There are those who don’t like the thought of eating something classified as a fungus! For all of you who love mushrooms, here’s some great information about the various types and a few suggestions for their use.

Five Great Types of Edible Mushrooms

While there are hundreds of different types of mushrooms that are edible, there are hundreds more that aren’t. Some are very poisonous and others will just make you feel as though you are dying! If you are not familiar with differences, then it’s best to get your mushrooms from your local grocery store!

There are three types of mushrooms commonly found in the produce aisle. These are white buttons, portabellas and shiitake. These mushrooms each have a very distinctive flavor when eaten raw and you won’t have to worry about these being poisonous. When cooked, mushrooms tend to take on the flavor of other ingredients, but add a nice earthen tone, as well.

Another type of mushroom is the coveted truffle. In 2007, a 1.5 kg truffle sold at auction for $330,000, completely out of most kitchen budgets! Most truffles are worth about $1000 to $5000 per pound. This particular mushroom was shaped funny and is why it brought so much. Avery Albino Magic Mushrooms Truffles have a very earthy flavor and each kind of truffle has its own distinct taste and fragrance. It’s rather an acquired taste, but if you want to know what this impressive mushroom can do to an ordinary dish, pick up a bottle of truffle oil. It will bring even the most boring dish to new heights.

Finally, another type of mushroom that is very popular but not as expensive is the chanterelle. This mushroom has a flavor and aroma that’s quite distinctive. It’s been described as tasting more like a flower than a mushroom and its aroma has a distinct apricot essence. This one is a little more difficult to find in stores, but if you have a world market type store in your city, you may have some luck.

Cooking with Mushrooms

Mushrooms are exceptionally versatile when it comes to cooking. While truffles are normally used in very small amounts, the other types are used in varying quantities. Mushrooms are a great compliment to many foods, but can be used as the main ingredient. Stuffed mushrooms with cream cheese and crab meat are a staple for many hors d’oeuvre tables and fried mushrooms are found in many a “greasy spoon.” However, there are many other uses for mushrooms in the kitchen.

Some of the best recipes involve sautéing the mushrooms until they are a darker color. Add in some garlic, onions, and red wine and you’ve got the start of a great side dish or a topping for a fantastic steak. Mushrooms are used in many Italian recipes, such as in pasta sauces. Mushrooms are also a great compliment to egg dishes, such as omelets and quiches.

Preparation and Storage

Before using fresh mushrooms, you should rinse them off quickly in cold water but don’t soak them. They have a tendency to become water-logged rather quickly. Most mushrooms can be stored in your refrigerator, but not in the crisper drawer. If you buy loose fresh mushrooms, it’s best to place them in a paper bag, as this will help absorb some of the moisture. It will help the mushrooms stay fresh longer. If you notice that one mushroom is looking rather bad, take it out immediately, as the rest will spoil quickly.

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