General Question

emilyrose's avatar

Why are people so particular about the way they clean mushrooms?

Asked by emilyrose (2269points) June 15th, 2008

People have special brushes for this task, or they peel them, or use a paper towel. What gives? I just rinse them like I do anything else.

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13 Answers

jlm11f's avatar

you ..just…RINSE them????????????? WHAT is wrong with you woman?? okay, i really don’t know, I would probably just rinse them too if i was using them. luckily, i don’t like mushrooms, so its never come up.

emilyrose's avatar

ha ha. i mean maybe i give them a little extra love, but i don’t use tools for the job!

El_Cadejo's avatar

mushrooms are naturally dirty since they are a fungus and grow from the ground so you have to take extra care cleaning them. But this is made hard because they are so delicate. If you soak them in water they are like sponges and absorb all the water which ruins them. So its best to brush them and wet them as little as possible. Also you can remove a lot of the dirt by peeling that outer skin off the cap.

ordosingularis's avatar

Chefs do not use water because it “waterlogs” the mushrooms. During rinsing the mushroom absorb water and can alter the cooking process.

ordosingularis's avatar

ahhhh, you beat me to it, uber

emilyrose's avatar

uber—- how does that ruin them exactly?? aren’t they filling with water when I use them in soup?

PupnTaco's avatar

Mushrooms are fragile and just need a simple brushing. They’re very porous and have a limited capacity, so you want to brown them to draw out their moisture and thereby include that flavor in your dish. Adding water dilutes this flavor and changes their texture.

mcbealer's avatar

I rub off any dirt, then peel off the outer layer.

susanc's avatar

I vote for Pup because he is correct and for mcbealer because he’s even more punctilious. Mushrooms are often grown in horseshit rather than earth. Cleaning them

Trustinglife's avatar

@Susan, how do you know that? Yikescito!

simone54's avatar

Yep, we don’t rinse them at our place ether.

Harp's avatar

Harold McGee, the guy who wrote “On Food and Cooking” and “The Curious Cook” (the best books to date on the science behind cooking) said the following in answer to this question:

“I was skeptical about the mushrooms-absorb-water idea and so did the soaking experiments with standard white mushrooms for “The Curious Cook” back in 1990. I’ve since tried a number of others, and if you make sure to shake the water out of the nooks, fresh mushrooms absorb little if any water. I’d also say that since they’re already around 90% water, a little more or less isn’t going to make much of a practical difference in the subsequent cooking.

Now losing flavor to the water is a different question, and it’s possible that you might lose savory amino acids (aroma molecules tend not to be soluble in water). Even here, though, the amino acids are inside cells, and most cells are not going to be breached by surface exposure to water.

So I wash my mushrooms with a clear conscience”

whatthefluther's avatar

Some people go to great lengths to avoid diminishing the psilocybin levels of certain “magic” mushrooms.

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