10 Facts about Mushrooms

As Zdeno, Ricardo’s neighbour and a mushroom picker, puts it: “All mushrooms are edible, some only once.” So, in order to help you safely enjoy these fungi to their fullest, we’ve put together this guide, featuring facts, tips and suggestions. Here are 10 things you need to know about mushrooms.

1. You can wash them

Yes, you can wash mushrooms in cold water, as long as they are not left to soak and are dried immediately. To remove impurities, a small mushroom brush or even a soft-bristled toothbrush works well.

2. Portions

As a side dish, calculate around 100 to 150 g of fresh or frozen mushrooms per person. Depending on the variety, that can be either a handful or only a few mushrooms.

3. Well done

Sauté your mushrooms in small quantities and avoid overcrowding the pan. Once they are browned on one side, you can stir them and add salt without risking removing the water that gives them their mushy texture.

4. Let them breathe

To prevent them from rotting (yes, even mushrooms), store them in a paper bag. If not, poke some holes in the plastic wrap covering the basket to let some air in. It is preferable that mushrooms dry out slightly rather than become sticky, a sign that they’re going bad.

5. Meaty

Portobello, porcini, oyster and other large-sized mushrooms offer a meaty texture, similar to that of meat. Sautéed or grilled, they are the ideal beef or pork substitute for your veggie burgers.

6. Mycoboutique

Located at 16 Rachel Street East in Montreal, this unique store is all about mushrooms, fresh, frozen, or dried. It also offers picking activities supervised by expert guides as well as various products. It’s worth a visit!

7. Surprising

You can sometimes find frozen mushrooms in more specialized fruit stores. To cook them, simply rinse quickly in water and cook without thawing, just like you would frozen peas.

8. Rehydrate

Soak your dried mushrooms in warm liquid (water, broth, wine) for 5 to 10 minutes for small pieces and up to one hour for the largest and toughest. Retain the soaking liquid, which is rich in flavour, and add to dishes such as risotto. Take care not to include the sandy run-off or impurities at the bottom of the bowl.

9. Aromatic

Although they seem more expensive to buy, dried mushrooms have a concentrated flavour, so a small amount will go far. Use them as an aromatic to flavour your stew, sauce or even your sautéed mushrooms.

10. Safety first

“All mushrooms are edible, some only once.” – a quote from Zdeno, Ricardo’s neighbour and a mushroom picker. This is why you never pick a mushroom if you don’t know what kind it is.

Hélène Laurendeau

A nutrition and health enthusiast who loves to share: this description fits Hélène Laurendeau to a tee. She has been active for more than 25 years in the media and communications field. Nutritionist, host, columnist, author and speaker, Hélène holds a Bachelor degree in Nutrition and a Master degree in Epidemiology. She has spread her knowledge alongside Ricardo every week since 2005, as part of his daily show broadcast on ICI Radio-Canada Télé, as well as in Ricardo magazine, where she pens the Bien se nourrir (Eating Well) column.