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Button mushrooms - tasty, varied and mild
Both white and brown button mushrooms give each dish a unique flavour. Whether in salad, grilled, or baked, mushrooms are popular with every gourmet.
Much beloved, cultivated button mushrooms shouldn’t be left out of a healthy, balanced diet. Like tomatoes, they have a water content of over 90 percent, and with 22 calories per 100 grams, are ideal for those looking to maximise flavour without resorting to unhealthy fats or sugars. Those looking to up their intake of folic acid and vitamin D should add raw mushrooms to a salad. Initially limited to French cuisine, today, people all over the world enjoy the delicious fungi.
|Calories||26 kcal per 100g|
|Nutrients||1.1g carbohydrate, 1.9g fibre, 0.3g fat, 2.9g protein per 100g|
|Storage||in a dry, cool place, ideally in the refrigerator: remove any cling film from the package to prevent condensation from accumulating|
|Shelf life||2-3 days|
The common button mushroom, whose botanical name is Agaricus bisporus, is a cultivated mushroom that is available all year round. The cultivation of button mushrooms began in France in the 17th century. There it was quickly realised that they grow best in a dark environment: in cellars or vaults, for example. Since this development, it has been possible to selectively grow what had previously only been found by chance in fields and meadows under certain favourable conditions.
Larger types of cultivated mushrooms have only been around since the 20th century, however. Although the button mushroom is simply a very young version of the more substantially sized portobello. Mushrooms need special fertile soil in order to grow. They are produced in large, indoor farms, making them available year round. Button mushrooms are white to cream coloured on the outside, but they can also take on a subtle pink or beige hue. The gills under the cap are pink to brown in colour. Brown button mushrooms are rarer, but also have a more intense flavour. Both varieties are grown in the same way. Whether wild or cultivated, all mushrooms have to be harvested very carefully to avoid leaving any unsightly pressure marks on them.
Mushroom recipes couldn’t be more varied. You’re spoiled for choice if you want to experience the full pleasure of mushrooms: raw in a salad, finely chopped and lightly braised in sauces, sautéed as an antipasti, marinated, breaded and fried, or stuffed and baked with cheese. Creativity knows no limits with this true all-rounder. Since mushrooms taste naturally mild, mushroom dishes can go in many different flavour directions. They taste wonderful in a mild cream sauce or with an herb marinade.
Before cooking, mushrooms need to be prepared properly. It’s important not to wash mushrooms. Rather, it’s perfectly adequate to lightly brush or wipe mushrooms of any dirt. This preserves the mushroom’s naturally charming aroma and prevents them from soaking up any water. As they’re mostly dry and woody, the stems can be easily removed. You should also remove any bruised areas.
Because mushrooms have a tendency to absorb odours from strongly aromatic foods, they should be stored separately to preserve their natural flavour. This is the only way to retain their unique mushroom taste when grilling or roasting.
If you want to keep mushrooms on hand for more than a couple of days, look for the tinned or jarred versions in the supermarket. Dried and vacuum packed mushrooms also stay fresh for just as long.
Have you got more mushrooms than you know what to do with? No problem. You can store them in the freezer for several months and use them later. But be sure to only freeze mushrooms in their raw form. However, when defrosted, they’re not quite as crisp as when fresh. For easier preparation, it’s advisable to cut the mushrooms as they are to be used after thawing, finely chopped for a cream sauce, for instance.
Packed airtight and properly stored, mushrooms lose only a small fraction of their nutrients. So they’re still perfect for all those healthy recipes. You can also happily rewarm any leftovers from a fully cooked mushroom dish. But you need to keep them in the refrigerator and reheat to at least 70°C.
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