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Mushroom Preparation


JimH
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I was just over visiting our new sponsor browsing Portabello recipes. I've had people tell me that you have to remove the gills from under the cap before you do anything with them. I usually just rub them with olive oil and fresh garlic then grill them over high heat for a few minutes leaving the gills on. The recipes on on the sponsor's page don't say anything about removing the gills.

One other thing, I enjoy slicing button mushrooms for salads but I've seen warnings about eating uncooked mushrooms. Since I have not yet experienced a problem what are the rules, if there are any?

I tried to do a search but I'm on day one of using contacts and my eyes are nuked. :wacko:

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I've seen many recipes that recommend using a spoon to scrape out the gills from portobellos but I never have. It's a matter of aesthetics and I don't mind the dark gills at all. Some might not like big flakes of black in their risotto for example.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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When grilling or even stuffing it is not an issue, but if you are slicing them and using them in a stir-fry for example they will bleed a dark mud color into everything else. That does not happen if you scrape the gills away from the cap.

As to raw button mushrooms, I have read stuff about them being mildly carcinogenic, but it appears only in supernormal quantities.

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Sometimes I scrape, sometimes I do not.

On the barbecue, I find an inverted portabello cap can hold the melting blue cheese better if you leave the gills on. I have heard say the gills are bitter but I've not detected that for myself. In a creamy sauce however, those gills can make everything an unpalatable gray color.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I'm not sure I even understand. Remove the gills how? And why? I've certainly never done such a thing.

When I've come across it in a recipe, it tells you to use a spoon.

I've seen many recipes that recommend using a spoon to scrape out the gills from portobellos but I never have. It's a matter of aesthetics and I don't mind the dark gills at all. Some might not like big flakes of black in their risotto for example.

You're right, I hadn't thought of how the gills would look if they detachted from the cap.

When grilling or even stuffing it is not an issue, but if you are slicing them and using them in a stir-fry for example they will bleed a dark mud color into everything else. That does not happen if you scrape the gills away from the cap.

As to raw button mushrooms, I have read stuff about them being mildly carcinogenic, but it appears only in supernormal quantities.

OK, I can see how the gills bleeding color when cooked could be unappetizing. The cooking warning I'm thinking of was in my Fungi Perfecti catalog. They sell mushroom spore and they advise you to cook any mushroom before consuming it. I guess they might advise that just for liability reasons.

Sometimes I scrape, sometimes I do not.

On the barbecue, I find an inverted portabello cap can hold the melting blue cheese better if you leave the gills on. I have heard say the gills are bitter but I've not detected that for myself. In a creamy sauce however, those gills can make everything an unpalatable gray color.

I've never experienced any bitterness either they taste like steak. I'll have to try blue cheese on it next time. OK, now I'm hungry.

Thanks for the replies, since sauce gets mentioned quite a bit does anyone have a recipe they would like to share?

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I'm a barbarian for the most part and love mushrooms. Gills are no problem and I have never noted a taste in them that is unpleasant (or any different for that matter).

The only recipe I saw that removed them was duxelles. And it was purely aesthetics so it would not have a muddy gray look.

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Hi everyone. I work for Edelman, the PR firm representing the Mushroom Council. We just wanted to respond with an official answer for the two questions posted above. It looks like everyone's pretty much got it right, but we wanted to confirm that you do not need to remove the gills. Depending on the dish you're preparing, some people will remove the gills because the gills create a dark color when mixed into foods.

With regards to the question about uncooked mushrooms. Don't worry, mushrooms are healthy whether they are raw or cooked. The Mushroom Council recommends brushing off any dirt with a damp paper towel or fingers, rinsing only briefly under running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Never soak them, as they absorb moisture. Finally you can trim the end of the stem, if it seems tough.

Don't hesitate to let us know if you have any other questions!

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Hi everyone. I work for Edelman, the PR firm representing the Mushroom Council. We just wanted to respond with an official answer for the two questions posted above. It looks like everyone's pretty much got it right, but we wanted to confirm that you do not need to remove the gills. Depending on the dish you're preparing, some people will remove the gills because the gills create a dark color when mixed into foods.

With regards to the question about uncooked mushrooms. Don't worry, mushrooms are healthy whether they are raw or cooked. The Mushroom Council recommends brushing off any dirt with a damp paper towel or fingers, rinsing only briefly under running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Never soak them, as they absorb moisture. Finally you can trim the end of the stem, if it seems tough.

Don't hesitate to let us know if you have any other questions!

Lauren, thank you for your reply. I enjoy mushrooms and now I know I can eat more than just the button mushrooms raw.

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The Mushroom Council recommends brushing off any dirt with a damp paper towel or fingers, rinsing only briefly under running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Never soak them, as they absorb moisture.

According to tests run by Alton Brown of Good Eats, the bit about soaking appears to be a culinary myth. Per his tests, 4 ounces of button mushrooms soaked in 1 liter of water for 10, 20, and 30 minutes gained 0.2, 0.25, and 0.15 ounces, respectively (about a teaspoon, max). This works out to 3.75% to 6.25% gain. The kicker? Another 4 ounces of button mushrooms, subjected to a brief blast of cold water, gained 0.2 oz - same as when soaked for 10 minutes.

David aka "DCP"

Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

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The Mushroom Council recommends brushing off any dirt with a damp paper towel or fingers, rinsing only briefly under running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Never soak them, as they absorb moisture.

According to tests run by Alton Brown of Good Eats, the bit about soaking appears to be a culinary myth. Per his tests, 4 ounces of button mushrooms soaked in 1 liter of water for 10, 20, and 30 minutes gained 0.2, 0.25, and 0.15 ounces, respectively (about a teaspoon, max). This works out to 3.75% to 6.25% gain. The kicker? Another 4 ounces of button mushrooms, subjected to a brief blast of cold water, gained 0.2 oz - same as when soaked for 10 minutes.

Interesting. The only mushrooms I soak have been previously dried.

I used to balk at the price of dried mushroom varieties, until I weighed some that I had rehydrated. The better deal is often with the dried ones, and they have a longer shelf life.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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The Mushroom Council recommends brushing off any dirt with a damp paper towel or fingers, rinsing only briefly under running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Never soak them, as they absorb moisture.

According to tests run by Alton Brown of Good Eats, the bit about soaking appears to be a culinary myth. Per his tests, 4 ounces of button mushrooms soaked in 1 liter of water for 10, 20, and 30 minutes gained 0.2, 0.25, and 0.15 ounces, respectively (about a teaspoon, max). This works out to 3.75% to 6.25% gain. The kicker? Another 4 ounces of button mushrooms, subjected to a brief blast of cold water, gained 0.2 oz - same as when soaked for 10 minutes.

Interesting. The only mushrooms I soak have been previously dried.

I used to balk at the price of dried mushroom varieties, until I weighed some that I had rehydrated. The better deal is often with the dried ones, and they have a longer shelf life.

Not to mention you can pack a lot of flavor in them depending on the hydration liquid.

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The Mushroom Council recommends brushing off any dirt with a damp paper towel or fingers, rinsing only briefly under running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Never soak them, as they absorb moisture.

According to tests run by Alton Brown of Good Eats, the bit about soaking appears to be a culinary myth. Per his tests, 4 ounces of button mushrooms soaked in 1 liter of water for 10, 20, and 30 minutes gained 0.2, 0.25, and 0.15 ounces, respectively (about a teaspoon, max). This works out to 3.75% to 6.25% gain. The kicker? Another 4 ounces of button mushrooms, subjected to a brief blast of cold water, gained 0.2 oz - same as when soaked for 10 minutes.

I think this would be a great, separate, topic. Long ago, McGee did this same experiment and reached similar conclusions. Yet I'm not sure it was a complete experiment. Anyway, perhaps somebody will start a topic on the subject?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Hi everyone. I work for Edelman, the PR firm representing the Mushroom Council. We just wanted to respond with an official answer for the two questions posted above. It looks like everyone's pretty much got it right, but we wanted to confirm that you do not need to remove the gills. Depending on the dish you're preparing, some people will remove the gills because the gills create a dark color when mixed into foods.

With regards to the question about uncooked mushrooms. Don't worry, mushrooms are healthy whether they are raw or cooked. The Mushroom Council recommends brushing off any dirt with a damp paper towel or fingers, rinsing only briefly under running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Never soak them, as they absorb moisture. Finally you can trim the end of the stem, if it seems tough.

Don't hesitate to let us know if you have any other questions!

It isn't correct to say that all edible mushrooms are safe to eat raw. Many wild mushrooms need to be cooked before they can be safely eaten. Chanterelles and morels are the most common that will leave you with an unhappy stomach if you eat them raw. Porcini and the various insipid grocery store agaricus mushrooms (white buttons, crimini, portobello) are safe to eat raw.

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I've never heard of removing the gills of portobellos (isn't that most of the mushroom?).

But a chef friend of mine insists on peeling them. I had never known that they even had peels, but he demonstrated. He used a spoon, the way some people peel ginger, and just exfoliated the thin outer layer from the whole mushroom. We stood side by side and did this to several pounds of them one night. It's the last time I ever did it. They did look nicer (cleaner, anyhow) with the peels gone, but if they tasted any better I didn't notice.

Notes from the underbelly

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The Mushroom Council recommends brushing off any dirt with a damp paper towel or fingers, rinsing only briefly under running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Never soak them, as they absorb moisture.

According to tests run by Alton Brown of Good Eats, the bit about soaking appears to be a culinary myth. Per his tests, 4 ounces of button mushrooms soaked in 1 liter of water for 10, 20, and 30 minutes gained 0.2, 0.25, and 0.15 ounces, respectively (about a teaspoon, max). This works out to 3.75% to 6.25% gain. The kicker? Another 4 ounces of button mushrooms, subjected to a brief blast of cold water, gained 0.2 oz - same as when soaked for 10 minutes.

I think this would be a great, separate, topic. Long ago, McGee did this same experiment and reached similar conclusions. Yet I'm not sure it was a complete experiment. Anyway, perhaps somebody will start a topic on the subject?

I have gone ahead and done so, over here. My first batch of results was surprising...

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I used to balk at the price of dried mushroom varieties, until I weighed some that I had rehydrated. The better deal is often with the dried ones, and they have a longer shelf life.

And toothsomeness - I appreciate the more substantial, slightly chewy texture one gets from rehydrating.

David aka "DCP"

Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

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