There is a fungus among us!

Mushrooms can be a tasty addition to many meals and dishes.

April 18, 2016 - Author: Jane Hart, Michigan State University Extension

Did you know that there are many mushrooms farms in Michigan? So when you purchase fresh mushrooms in your local grocery store, you may be helping a local farmer – a win-win situation.

If you’re not familiar with using fresh mushrooms or shy away from anything but the button types, you may be in for a treat. Try them out. Experiment but be aware of how to take care of these scrumptious fungi.

When choosing mushrooms, find those that are well-shaped and clean. Different varieties offer different colors and shapes but generally stay away from those with dark spots, as they may be too old. Mushrooms reduce in size a lot during cooking, take this into consideration when purchasing. Generally, a pound of fresh mushrooms yield about four cups chopped or six cups sliced, but much less than that after they are cooked.

When home from the store, do not wash your mushrooms unless you will be using them immediately. They can be stored in a paper bag or open container in the refrigerator. Try to use them within two to three days. Just before using, rinse the mushrooms in cold, running water, stem down, to make sure the water doesn’t run under the cap.

Mushrooms can be a great addition to salads and hot dishes, and are a delicacy when stuffed. Look for new recipes to enhance your repertoire.

If you want to preserve mushrooms, you can do it at home by freezing, drying or canning.

  • To freeze, dip five minutes in a solution of 1 tsp. lemon juice to a pint of water. This will keep the color. Steam whole, buttons or quarters for nine minutes (sliced mushrooms for five minutes). Cool quickly, drain and package leaving ½ inch headspace. Label container and put in the freezer with a set temperature 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
  • To dehydrate, scrub the mushroom thoroughly and discard woody stalks. Cut into slices and place on trays in a dehydrator for 8 – 10 hours. When dried completely, place into an airtight container for storage.
  • To can, pick brightly colored, medium sized domestic mushrooms with short stems and unopened caps. They should not be discolored. Trim the stems and soak in cold potable water for 10 minutes. Wash in clean water. Cover them with water and boil for five minutes. Pack into hot half-pint or pint jars, leaving an inch headspace. You can add salt if desired. Fill the jars to within an inch from the top with boiling water, remove any bubbles, wipe and adjust rims and lids and process in a pressure canner at 11 pounds pressure for 45 minutes.

Wild mushrooms may have toxins that cannot be destroyed, even by canning or cooking. Michigan State University Extension recommends that you make sure the mushrooms you pick or purchase are safe to eat. If you are interested in learning how to can and preserve food, you can visit MSU Extension’s food preservation event page to find classes and workshops in your area.

Tags: food & health, food preservation, msu extension, safe food & water

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