Organic Food: Variety Is the Spice of Life (Part 2)

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By Emma Snow


Click here to read Part 1 of this article.

If you are new to the world of mushrooms, you should know they’re best when used within a few days of purchase. 

As with other vegetables, it is best to wait until you are ready to use them before rinsing your mushrooms. Remove plastic from the container, and store mushrooms in a paper bag. If they are stored in an air-tight container, the moisture trapped inside will cause early spoiling. 

It is not recommended to freeze fresh mushrooms, but if they are first sautéed, cooled and stored in an airtight container, they may be frozen for up to a month. Care should be taken when cleaning your mushrooms, especially morels. 

Shiitake, portabella and morels are great mushrooms to experiment with because they are becoming increasingly more available in local markets. Shiitakes are often dried and sold in packages. These must be rehydrated by soaking them in water about 15 minutes before using. The button of the shiitake mushroom has a smooth and spongy texture. It’s a great addition to any dish. 

Portabella mushrooms are sold with the stem or just as caps. They are light tan and rounded, with black visible gills on the underside. As they age and darken, their flavor is richer. They are especially great sautéed in butter and wine, or you can grill or roast them. Portabellas not only enhance the beauty of your dinner, but also add a hearty flavor. 

Morels have short, thick stems with pointed caps and have a lot of texture. Morels may be tan, yellow or black and have a nutty flavor. The darker the mushroom, the more intense the flavor. As you gain experience using these mushrooms, you can order different varieties. 

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of this article.

Emma Snow is a gourmet and freelance writer for Gourmet Living and BBQ Shop.

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