Tips for buying and cooking mushrooms
Most Dutch mushrooms are offered to customers prepackaged into blue punnets. Usually, the packaging lists a certificate of origin. The certificate will tell you wether the mushrooms were grown in The Netherlands and therefore comply with the strict Dutch quality standards. This way a buyer can be sure he (or she) is dealing with Dutch mushrooms. The consumer doesn’t have to worry about the quality of mushrooms; it is usually excellent, thanks to the attention greengrocers and supermarkets pay to their mushrooms.
Fresh mushrooms have a closed cap. A slightly opened cap doesn’t mean the mushroom is no longer usable. On the contrary, these mushrooms have a stronger flavor. It’s better to use open cap mushrooms in dark soups and sauces to hide the grey color of the spores.
What should you pay attention to when buying mushrooms? The size, for instance. If you want to use them in a soup or ragout, pick small mushrooms. If you want to stuff them, pick larger ones.
Fresh mushrooms are best kept in the fridge, to prevent the alit from deteriorating quickly. They keep for about five days after picking. It’s therefore best not to buy mushrooms until a day or two before use.
Tip 7: It’s easy to slice mushrooms using an egg cutter. But of course you can also use a knife.
- Keep unpackaged mushrooms wrapped in a paper bag or a dry tea towel, not in a closed plastic bag.
- Keep mushrooms away from strong smelling vegetables such as leek and onion. Mushrooms will take on the smell of anything nearby.
- Mushrooms age more quickly when kept near fruit.
- Don’t clean mushrooms in water! They soak it up and lose flavour in the process.
- Cookbooks often advise you to brush down mushrooms with a special mushroom brush. This may have been useful advice in the past, when dirt would cling to the stems, but this rarely is the case nowadays. It’s usually enough to wipe away any black bits with a piece of kitchen paper.
- Drizzle cleaned mushrooms with lemon juice to prevent them from discolouring.
- It’s easy to slice mushrooms using an egg cutter. All slices will be equally thick that way.
- It’s possible to fry mushrooms in butter, but it’s better to use a vegetable oil (like groundnut oil or olive oil). Use sparingly and fry on a high heat. It’s also possible to fry them quickly on a high heat in a dry pan.
- Cooking mushrooms:
- Boiling: 5-7 minutes
- Stir-frying: 2-4 minutes
- Microwave: 2-3 minutes
- Deep-frying: 2-4 minutes
- Grilling: 2-4 minutes
- Braising: about 10 minutes
- Steaming: about 6 minutes