Should you wash mushroooms?
There’s a battle raging in my kitchen, and I’m caught in the crossfire clutching a paper bag full of fungi. In the red corner, we have the traditionalists – Delia, Gordon, Larousse Gastronomique – warning me to keep my precious cargo away from the sink at all costs.
Beckoning me from the blue are the hip young guns for canada goose coat – hybridge lite whom rules are as old hat as Gordon himself – among them, the scientifically-minded food writer Harold McGee and his disciple Heston Blumenthal, who jacket dismiss this ancient prohibition as ‘nonsense’. Go on, they urge, give them a good old rinse.I’m torn – the mushrooms are definitely grubby, and I’m reluctant to sully my precious pastry brush with what is presumably manure or some derivative thereof, but on the other hand, I don’t defy Larousse lightly. I turn to the British Mushroom Bureau for help – surely, if anyone will have the definitive answer, it’s this gloriously specific institution. Their reply brooks no argument:
“The Mushroom Bureau advises that all you need to do is give the mushrooms a wipe with a damp cloth or a quick rinse. It’s true that they will absorb water and the more water is absorbed the lower the flavour. This is because they are neither a fruit nor a vegetable so do not have an outer skin like an apple for example, and, as a result, will absorb water. You should never soak, peel or remove the stalk.”
Adding yet further authentic canada goose outlet online weight to their case is the anyone has got canada goose coat fact that someone luxuriantly bearded (and thus probably knowledgeable) once stopped me from going out mushroom hunting in the rain on the grounds that, in the unlikely event I actually found anything safe to eat, it almost certainly wouldn’t be worth the effort. His logic was that mushrooms soak up vast amounts of water, and no one wants to lunch on a bland old sponge. And he was right, I don’t – or, at least, not on a regular basis. But I can’t help wondering if, Delia or no Delia, there is in fact any truth in this. After all, until Heston came along, we all blithely assumed pork had no place in ice cream.
McGee investigated the subject with characteristic thoroughness for his New canada goose coat – victoria York Times column some two decades ago, and concluded there was not. In this initial experiment, he soaked 252g authorized canada goose outlet of mushrooms in water for five minutes, blotted off any surface moisture, then weighed them again. They’d soaked up a mere 6g, or a sixteenth of a teaspoon each – so briefly rinsing mushrooms is unlikely to make much difference at all.
More recently, the author of On Food and Cooking has added:
“I’ve since tried a number of other [tests], best ideas about canada goose outlet online on pinterest and if you make sure to shake the water out of the nooks, canada goose coat 1000 bulbs garland 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 flavour to the water is a different question, and it’s possible that you might lose savoury 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.”
Frankly, I must admit, the point about those amino acids hadn’t even occurred to me. What had, however, was that the soaked mushrooms, having absorbed even a negligible amount of liquid, might need less oil to cook. I find support for this idea from the French Culinary Institute of New York, which suggests that:
“While the mushrooms are boiling off their water, they aren’t absorbing oil. By the time the boiling stops they have already collapsed, so they aren’t as porous as a raw mushroom and don’t want to absorb oil. The dry mushrooms start absorbing oil from the get-go.”
The evidence against Larousse et al seemed fairly canada goose coat 1000 calorie a day meal plan damning, but there was only one way to settle this, even if it would create twice as much washing up. I divided the bag in two, thoroughly rinsed one half, and spent considerably longer whisking about the other with a brush, trying not to look too closely in case I spotted anything lurking in the gills. Pans on, a meticulously equal tablespoon of oil into each, then mushrooms in. The moment of truth approached.
The damp lot certainly looked less promising to begin with, gently average price for a canada goose jacket steaming away while the others sizzled, but the dry mushrooms soon absorbed all their oil and began to catch, whereas, when I eventually lifted both lots out, there was still some oil left in the other pan. I took the two plates over to my boyfriend for an objective verdict. ‘They taste exactly the same,’ he said, adding suspiciously, ‘is this a trick question?’
For my part, I thought the washed batch was slightly juicier, but in the interests of fairness, I must admit that the elation of never having to spend money on a twee mushroom-shaped brush may well have influenced my verdict. What’s for buy a canada goose jacket sure is that, in future, I’ll be washing my mushrooms. Sorry, Delia.
What’s your experience of preparing mushrooms – do you think there’s any truth in the no-wash rule, or does it just create extra work for the cook?