This week’s Secret Ingredient for Friday Foodie Fix is Mushrooms! I grew up just around the corner from Kennet Square, PA, better known as the Mushroom Capital of the World. I’m not sure if I ever ate mushrooms when I lived at home. I was such a picky eater as a kid. Now, I love to add mushrooms to my meals. They add a depth of flavor and tons of great nutrients. Mushrooms are high in fiber and contain niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, iron, selenium, potassium copper and phosphorus. Here’s the best part, mushrooms are one of the few natural sources of Vitamin D. Yeah!!! Too many folks do not get enough Vitamin D.
There are so many great edible varieties of mushrooms. I don’t often use the white button mushroom but they’re the most common. There are cremini or baby bella which refers to the fact that it’s a baby portabello mushroom. Also shiitake, oyster, enoki, maitake, procini, morel, chanterelles, trumpet and beech. Then there are the black truffle and white truffle mushrooms. These look like little balls of, well let’s just say they don’t look like something you would pick up and eat. The Gourmet Food Store offers ideas on how to cook with truffles.
Don’t clean your mushrooms until you are ready to use them. Brushing them off with a damp paper towel or brush works great. Wet mushrooms will cook up to be tough and chewy so don’t wash under water. To store your fresh mushrooms keep them in the refrigerator crisper. They like cool damp air. Make sure they are vented and not sealed. A paper bag works great. If you have dried mushrooms, keep them in an airtight container. To use, soak them in hot water an hour before using. Don’t toss out the water but use it in your recipes. Just make sure you strained it for any dirt or twigs.
Modern Mushroom and Mushroom Council websites provide great information on the history, production, nutrition, cooking, and storage of mushrooms, plus descriptions of the taste and use of each variety of mushroom.
Here are a few of my recipes with mushrooms:
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Next week’s Secret Ingredient is ……………………Blueberries!