Whether you’re looking to add them to salads, soups or stews, mushrooms make a great addition to any meal. But because they grow low to the ground, they tend to be a bit dirty when you purchase them. Which naturally brings up the obvious question: how do you clean mushrooms? The answer is that it’s not as simple as running them underwater.
The problem with cleaning mushrooms is that they’re spongy little suckers. They soak up any and all water they come into contact with. And if you try to cook with a fluid-filled mushroom, it’s not going to cook as well as if you had just left it alone.
Ideally, you should be ready to use your mushrooms before you try to clean them. After all, if you wash them and then stick them back in the fridge, they won’t taste as good, and more often than not, it’ll go bad faster. So figure out which dish you’re going to dress up with mushrooms, and then clean them right before you begin cooking.
So how do you clean them? Use a damp paper towel to wipe off the mushrooms individually before using them. Sure, it’s a tedious task, but it’s really the most effective way to ensure that your mushrooms won’t be too earthy. If you can’t wait (or your willpower won’t last through an entire package of baby portabellas, you can rinse them quickly—just don’t soak them, or they’ll absorb all of the liquid and won’t cook as well.
Once you’ve cleaned them, you’ll need to dry them well with a kitchen towel. That will aid in absorbing any remaining surface liquid and ensure that your mushrooms sauté with ease.
Cleaning mushrooms isn’t like the rest of your fruit and veggie prep. But with a little patience and practice, these fantastic little fungi will make your meal fabulous.