Today's mushrooms come in a wide variety of flavours and textures, so experimentation is limited only by the imagination. We'll show you a few basic characteristics so you can get cooking with the many delicious varieties.

Varieties

Button

It's small and white with a dome-shaped cap and mild flavour that intensifies when cooked. Look for firm mushrooms with a tightly closed cap.

Oyster

Named after its shell-like shape, the oyster mushroom has a mild flavour and velvety texture. The colour ranges from light brown to grey. Look for tender heads with no dried edges. The oyster mushroom is particularly fragile. Best cooked until just heated thru to preserve silken texture.

Shiitake

Ranging in colour from caramel to dark brown, the shiitake has a broad, parasol-shaped cap and a soft, spongy texture. Its rich, woodsy flavour has made it a staple in Asian cooking. Use cooked or raw but always discard stem, which is tough and stringy.

Crimini

The crimini has a hearty, earthy flavour and a colour that varies from tan to dark brown. Choose criminis with dry, smooth caps. Interchangeable with button mushrooms.

Enoki

Originally from Japan, enoki mushrooms are now cultivated in California. Their long, thin stems and tiny caps are a creamy white colour. Crisp with a sweet, delicate flavour, enoki mushrooms are best served raw in salads or only slightly cooked.

Portobello

These large, firm, pancake-shaped mushrooms with dark-brown caps and black exposed gills have a rich, earthy flavour and meaty texture. The thick, tough stems-and sometimes the gills-are removed and discarded before cooking. Portobellos are usually grilled or roasted and served whole or sliced often as a beef substitute in sandwiches and stir-fries.

Availability

  • All year round, although peek season is fall and early winter.

Purchasing

  • Select fresh mushrooms that are firm, heavy and evenly coloured with caps that are free of blemishes. Avoid any that are slimy or have soft dark spots.
  • Mushrooms with closed caps, such as button and cremini, are freshest when the caps are closed. Open caps with exposed gills indicate a shorter shelf life.
  • The exposed gills of open-cap mushrooms, such as portobello and shiitake, should be unbroken.

Storage

  • Kraft Kitchens tested many different storage options - from paper bags to baskets and boxes. The best solution we found was the Tupperware® FridgeSmart™ Container. It effectively extends the life of your mushrooms while maintaining their flavour. With both vents closed (as per directions), whole unwashed mushrooms, of the same variety or mixed, will last up to 14 days. Presliced mushrooms will last seven days.
  • When sealed in plastic, mushrooms quickly become slimy and mouldy. Remove them from the carton and refrigerate, unwashed, in a paper bag. The paper absorbs excess moisture and allows the mushrooms to breathe. Or, wrap the mushrooms in paper towels and refrigerate in a plastic bag.
  • Refrigerate enoki and oyster mushrooms for 2 to 3 days and other varieties for up to 5 days.

Preparation / Cooking

  • Just before using fresh mushrooms, remove surface dirt with a damp paper towel or rinse briefly under cold running water and pat dry.
  • Never soak mushrooms as they will absorb water and become soggy.
  • Trim off and discard the ends of the stems. (The tough stems of portobello and shiitake mushrooms should be removed entirely and discarded.)
  • Cut mushrooms through their stems into slices or chop. Small button mushrooms are often cooked whole in soups and stews.
  • To keep button mushrooms from discolouring, toss them with lemon juice or rub them with a paper towel dipped in lemon juice and water.
  • Cook mushrooms before adding them to a soup, sauce or other finished dish for the best flavour and texture.

Tips

  • Substitute smoky grilled or broiled portobello mushrooms for the meat in your favourite burger or steak sandwiches. Serve topped with Kraft Singles.
  • Extend more expensive shiitake and cremini mushrooms by mixing them with button mushrooms for a "wild" blend.
  • Stir cooked mushrooms into Stove Top Stuffing for an instant burst of earthy, autumn flavour.
  • Keep mushrooms on hand to toss into stir-fries, pasta dishes and cooked vegetables.
  • Thread small whole mushrooms onto skewers and grill or broil for a tasty appetizer or side dish. Brush with your favourite Kraft Dressing.

Seasonal Produce