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Also Known as
Button Mushrooms / Agaricus
Button mushroom is widely available; varies in color from white to light brown and in size from small to jumbo stuffer; plump and dome-shaped; pleasing flavor intensifies when cooked. Mature Agaricus with open veils have an intensely rich taste. Agaricus is quite versatile, being excellent for use both raw and cooked. Also available canned and dried.
Blanched and sliced mushrooms
To blanch the mushrooms, immerse them briefly in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. This will help to soften them and also partially cook to preserve colour and flavour. Remove and then plunge into cold water. Let it cool slightly. Place them on a chopping board, hold the mushrooms vertically and slice them using a sharp knife and cut them into thick or thin slices as per the recipe requirement.
Mushrooms which have been cooked in boiling water and then refreshed. To blanch mushrooms (whole or quartered), clean and trim the mushrooms. Place them in a pot containing boiling water and allow boiling for 10 to 15 seconds. Remove and place in chilled water immediately. This will prevent "carry over" cooking. Drain the chilled water and use blanched mushrooms in recipes of your choice. Add as topping for pizzas, in sauces or stir-fried preparations and au gratins.
Clean and trim the mushrooms before chopping. Cut each mushroom lengthwise into half. Cut each half piece again lengthwise into half to get 4 equal quarters/ pieces. Use quartered mushrooms in gravies, au gratins, etc.
Wash, pat dry and place the mushrooms on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife, cut each mushroom into 2 halves vertically. Place the cut pieces together and make another cut horizontally to make small equal sized cubes. Mushrooms can be cut into smaller or bigger cubes as per the recipe requirement. Small Cubes are wonderful addition to salads whereas large ones are used for veggies.
Clean and trim the mushrooms before slicing them. Cut each mushroom into two from the middle. Now, cut each cut piece into thin slices lengthwise to get sliced mushrooms. Use them in recipes which require stir frying etc since they don't require much time to cook.
How to Select
When buying fresh button mushrooms, select mushrooms that are intact and firm, with tightly closed cap. Avoid mushrooms that are wrinkled, slimy, ragged, or spotted. If the gills are showing, it's an indication of age, and they are probably past their prime. Discolored, broken and damaged mushrooms with soft spots should be avoided.
" Mushrooms are extremely porous and soak up water like a sponge. Because they are mostly water, never soak fresh mushrooms.
" Be aware that salt releases the water in mushrooms, so judge the salt usage accordingly for your particular recipe.
" In most cooked recipes, different varieties of mushrooms may be used interchangeably.
" For easy marinated mushrooms, cover cleaned button mushrooms with your favorite vinaigrette, cover and refrigerate for 2 days.
" An egg-slicer makes quick work of slicing mushrooms into uniform pieces. Cut edges of mushrooms will turn dark when exposed to air.
" When they will be served raw, cut just before serving or wipe the cut edges with lemon juice.
" Mushroom powder can easily be made by grinding dried button mushrooms in a spice or coffee grinder, food processor, or heavy-duty blender. Use to flavor soups, stews, stocks, dips, and sauces.
" Avoid aluminum pans when cooking light-colored mushrooms. The aluminum will discolor the mushrooms.
" Since mushrooms contain so much water, no additional liquid is needed when cooking them in a microwave. Do not cover.
" Don't throw away mushroom stems. Trim and freeze them to use in soups and stocks.
" Mushrooms also make the use of pulses, beans and peas in vegetarian cookery more palatable and enjoyable
How to Store
Store button mushrooms in your refrigerator crisper where they can benefit from cool air circulation. Keep partially covered to prevent them from drying out, but never store packaged fresh button mushrooms without venting. Paper bags are a good storage alternative. Use fresh button mushrooms within three days. Store dried button mushrooms in an airtight container. Dried button mushrooms should be soaked in hot water or part of the recipe cooking liquid for about an hour before using. The liquid may be used for added flavor.
" Button Mushrooms are potential cancer-fighters. It contains a compound called lentinan, which is being used as a cancer treatment.
" Button Mushrooms are also a good source of riboflavin and niacin and contain no fat or cholesterol.
" Button Mushrooms are low in calories, low in fat and have no cholesterol and also low in salt.
" It is a good source of minerals, especially potassium and also a good source of vitamins, particularly B vitamins.
" Button Mushroom protein is also superior to many other vegetable proteins on account of its essential amino acid content.
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