How to cook mushrooms: wild, portobello, shiitake, morel, porcini, enoki & oyster

How to cook mushrooms

Complete guide explains about choosing, preparing and how to cook mushrooms, with instructions for different kinds and easy recipes to try.

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Aromatic, tasty and varied: mushrooms are one of the culinary highlightsin the autumn season, and many varieties are also available all year round. Since fresh mushrooms unfortunately spoil quickly, which can lead to complaints such as nausea and diarrhea, they should be used as quickly as possible. 

How to store mushrooms

Fresh mushrooms must be stored in a cool place so that they are spared the inevitable decomposition processes for a few days. The optimal storage temperature is 2-4 ° C. That is why mushrooms are always kept in the refrigerator.

Unfortunately, the shelf life of fresh mushrooms is limited, even in the refrigerator, although they behave differently depending on the species. The Shiitake mushroom is considered to be particularly storable. You can leave it there for a week to 10 days.

The oyster mushroom can also be stored quite well. Only inexperienced consumers often complain that a white “mold coating” forms on the surface of the oyster mushrooms stored in the refrigerator, which they see as a sign of spoilage. However, the formation of this deposit on the cap surface is a completely normal phenomenon. It consists of a network of the oyster mushroom itself that sprouts from its cap and indicates that the fruiting body will continue to live in the refrigerator for a few days. Oyster mushrooms with such a white topping can be prepared without hesitation. It would be different if you found a green coating on the mushrooms. Then they would actually be spoiled because they are infected by a real mold.

Brown mushrooms can also be stored well, but the white mushrooms are a little more difficult. Their color is too sensitive to be kept unchanged over a long period of time. The decomposition process, which is slowed down considerably in the refrigerator, gradually leads to a brown coloration of the white mushrooms. You should therefore use them after 3-4 days at the latest.

Mushroom myth-busting

At this point, a widespread misinformation should be corrected. Many fear that edible mushrooms could become toxic when stored in the refrigerator. It is also rumored that mushroom dishes cannot be reheated or eaten the next day. Both are wrong. Edible mushrooms are not poisonous during storage. They just spoil like any other food that goes moldy after a certain time or falls victim to the usual decomposition. That is why you can warm up and eat mushroom dishes the next day after storing them in the refrigerator. With regard to storage and recycling, the same standards should be set for mushrooms as for fish and meat dishes.

How to cook mushrooms: wild or forest mushrooms

how to cook mushrooms

You should never eat forest mushrooms raw. Boiling, frying or cooking deactivates toxins that are contained in some wild mushrooms – including non-toxic ones, mind you. The toxins and certain proteins make raw mushrooms difficult to digest and sometimes also harmful to health. Therefore, mushrooms collected in the forest should be cooked on high heat for 15 to 20 minutes before consumption.

Collect forest mushrooms in a basket, not a bag

Collecting mushrooms from the forest should be done in baskets. This is the only way to get enough air to reach porcini mushrooms, chestnuts and the like. In plastic bags and other tight containers, the mushrooms could “sweat” and form bacterial decomposition products.

Process forest mushrooms quickly

Since forest mushrooms spoil quickly, they should be processed on the same day if possible. Because due to the moisture in the forest – e.g. from rain or dew – the decomposition process starts earlier than with mushrooms from the supermarket. Forest mushrooms often have damaged areas that leave the fruiting body modern faster. Rotten mushrooms can quickly lead to food poisoning.

Clean the forest mushrooms very carefully

Before the mushrooms end up in the pan, they must be carefully cleaned. Soil, grass, moss and pine needles on the stem or hat can contain harmful bacteria. You can get rid of them with a damp cloth or brush. Bad, dried or muddy areas are removed with a knife as well as bad tubes and obvious places where snails and insects have eaten.

Also remove the musty tubes, such as those often found in large boletus mushrooms. Do not soak in water as they will lose their flavor and aroma.

Cook forest mushrooms in oil or butter

Forest mushrooms are steamed in oil, butter or margarine. They are only salted at the end, otherwise the mushrooms will be tough. If you want, you can refine the mushroom pan with egg and a little bacon. The tart aroma of parsley gives the dish the finishing touch. Bread tastes good with it.

How to cook mushrooms: champignon and cultivated mushrooms

Cleaning them properly

Before cooking, mushrooms need to be cleaned. In the case of cultivated mushrooms, it is sufficient to briefly clean them with kitchen paper if necessary or a brush under running water. Cut off the dry ends of the stems and cut the mushrooms into slices or pieces. Very small specimens are best prepared whole. Never sit mushrooms in water because they will soak up and lose their aroma.

There is also a widespread opinion that mushroom caps have to be peeled before preparation. This view is wrong! You can safely save yourself this work, not to mention the valuable nutrients that end up in the waste through peeling. 

How to prepare mushrooms

Mushrooms are very versatile. You can fry, stew, boil, grill or gratin. Alternatively, you can add mushrooms directly to sauces or soups, grill them or bake them in the oven. Large mushrooms are easy to hollow out, fill and gratinate in the oven. Fresh herbs give mushrooms a particularly fine aroma. Cultivated mushrooms such as mushrooms or king oyster mushrooms also taste good raw, for example thinly sliced ​​in salad or marinated in vinegar, oil, spices and herbs. With oyster mushrooms and Shiitake, the stems are cut about 1 cm below the lamellas, as they are tough. Then the whole oyster or shiitake mushroom is used.

How to cook mushrooms: frying mushrooms properly

Fried mushrooms develop their full aroma and taste good as a starter, side dish, topping or on toasted bread. Important: Fry the mushrooms as short as possible at a high temperature, otherwise they will quickly become mushy because they contain a lot of water. Oil or clarified butter are best for this. Sear the mushrooms in it while turning, then reduce the temperature a little and continue frying for a few minutes.

Only at the end season to taste and add a few flakes of butter. A pressed clove of garlic or a few sprigs of herbs can be added to the pan when frying to flavor. Do not serve this with.

How to cook mushrooms: Seasoning mushrooms

Mushroom dishes should not be heavily salted or seasoned, otherwise their own taste will be suppressed. Salt and freshly ground pepper should not be missing from any dish as part of how to cook mushrooms, but in moderation. Garlic, onions and a pinch of lemon juice round off the taste of the classic preparation.  If you want to season with a different taste, paprika, onion, garlic and caraway seeds are good in small amounts. If you are a little more adventurous, add a touch of nutmeg or a little ginger. Parsley, chives, thyme and marjoram are very good herbs, and coriander is also suitable for an Asian touch.

How to cook oyster mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms are all-rounders: you can fry, boil or grill them and reinvent them again and again – whether in soups, stir-fries or as an antipasti. The two most common types are the flat ‘fan shaped’ oyster mushroom and the thick-bodied king oyster mushroom. With their firm consistency and strong aroma, they are reminiscent of veal in terms of taste, which is why oyster mushrooms are often also called veal mushrooms.

  • Pay attention to the quality of the mushrooms when shopping: Fresh oyster mushrooms have light gray, shell-shaped hats without cracks or damp spots. They must not smell musty. White, powder-like coating on the mushroom caps is harmless – this is not mold, but harmless spores.
  • Never wash oyster mushrooms! The mushrooms would take in too much water and become mushy. Mushrooms before cooking just lightly with a cloth or brush to clean .
  • Some oyster mushroom hats grow very large. In such cases, you can divide the mushrooms with a knife before putting them in the pan so that they can be seared on all sides. Don’t cut them too small, however, otherwise there won’t be too much left of them in the end – oyster mushrooms will shrink a little when frying.
  • If you want to use oyster mushrooms for a soup, we recommend that you cut the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces before cooking – so you can pick them up later with the soup spoon.
  1. Clean the oyster mushrooms with a kitchen towel or brush. If necessary, cut mushrooms that are too large with a sharp kitchen knife.
  2. Put very little oil in a coated pan and heat. Only put as many oyster mushrooms in the pan as there is space – it is best not to place the mushrooms on top of each other. Sear them over high heat, turning constantly, on all sides for about 3-4 minutes until they are golden brown. Immediately remove from the pan. Season with salt and pepper.

Tip: Then sprinkle freshly chopped herbs over the fried oyster mushrooms.

How to cook portobello mushrooms

how to cook mushrooms

The portobello mushroom is easy to prepare, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some tips and tricks. Always pay attention to the following:

  • First always remove the stem completely. There is no need to remove the black slats under the cap of the Portobello. The main reason for removal is blackening of other ingredients, so when grilling, removal is not necessary. Using a brush or, if there is no brush, clean the cap with a cloth and possibly remove dirt.
  • The Portobello can be grilled either natural or marinated. When marinating, always leave for about an hour in a marinade of, for example, olive oil, red wine or balsamic vinegar, garlic and onions. Then the mushrooms can be packed in a foil and should be consumed within a day.
  • Portobello mushrooms should be grilled for between 8 and 10 minutes. They should drain, but not too long, because otherwise they will become swampy. As soon as they begin to drain, they should be placed on the cap. Then the tasteful liquid does not completely evaporate, but flows into the slats, which capture the taste. Oil in the pan is not absolutely necessary,but can be used on request. If grilled with oil, do not add the mushrooms to the pan until the oil is sufficiently hot, otherwise they will soak up too much of the oil.

How to cook enoki mushrooms

The fact that Enoki are also known as winter or snow mushrooms is due to the frost-resistant bodies. These allow them to grow in nature, even in cool temperatures from autumn to spring. The delicate white mushrooms with their long velvety stems and small heads have a sweet, mild taste. Bred enokis are harvested and sold in small bunches. Stored in the refrigerator, Enoki mushrooms can be stored for up to a week.

Enoki mushrooms can be eaten raw very well in salads etc. Brush the mushrooms lightly or gently dry. Cut off the rootstock. Otherwise, the stem and the so-called cap can be used completely. 

Enoki won’t take a lot of heat or long cooking, but there are several ways to cook enoki mushrooms that bring out their delicate flavour. You can add enokis to stir-fry dishes, pasta, soups or sauces in the last few minutes and just let them heat through. They will take up the flavour of the dish beautifully!

Dry pan-roasting reveals the umami in enokis, but you have to do it quickly over high heat without any oils. Heat the pan first, the spread out the enokis in it. And don’t stir them with an implement — just toss them in the pan. Cook for about 15 seconds, toss. Then another 15 second, then toss. Done!

You can grill enoki on the barbecue plate, or if you don’t have a flat plate, use a stainless steel sieve or a small thin baking tray on the barbecue bars (so the tiny mushrooms don’t fall through). Lightly oil the enoki and grill for one or two minutes while tossing the container (wearing oven-proof gloves!) Also be careful handling them — chopsticks would be gentler than barbecue tongs.

You can crispy-fry them in very hot oil (380-400F) about a quarter of an inch deep. Or add them to the pan when you have cooked something else in oil, or something fatty such as bacon. Cook for about two minutes until golden and crisp.

How to prepate morel mushrooms

how to cook mushrooms

With their honeycomb-like, elongated hat, morels are reminiscent of a sponge. The darker the head of the morels, the finer and more delicate they are.

Like all wild mushrooms, it is best to eat them fresh as possible. If there is no other way, the morels can be kept in the refrigerator for a maximum of 3 days. Dried morels have a much longer shelf life. They must be soaked in lukewarm water for a good 20 minutes before further processing.

The morels are not exactly inspiring at first glance: they are poisonous in their raw state! Before further processing, it is imperative to cook the morels for at least 5 minutes in order to render their poison harmless. Instead of cooking, drying for at least 6 months also helps. For this reason, morels are often found dried in supermarkets. The meat of the morels is brittle, tastes spicy and earthy-nutty.

It is important that morels are absolutely inedible when raw! As with all other mushrooms, preparation begins by carefully removing coarse dirt and sand with a brush.

Then the morels should be put in water and cooked for at least 5 minutes. After boiling, let the morels stand in the water until the sand has settled out from each loophole of their spongy hats on the bottom of the pot.

Take the morels out of the water with a ladle and rinse again thoroughly under cold water. Then you can further use them in cooking. Morels are wonderfully suited as a flavoring agent in sauces, and the strong taste of morels goes wonderfully well with game dishes, but also with fine foods such as asparagus or lobster.

How to prepare shiitake mushrooms

how to cook mushrooms

When buying shiitake mushrooms, you should make sure that the hat looks plump and fresh. However, stains, cracks and flakes are not a problem: These are typical characteristics of the species. The preparation should be done on the same day if possible. The mushrooms develop their extraordinary aroma best fresh. You can also store the mushrooms in the fridge’s vegetable compartment – for a maximum of ten days.

Before preparation, you should remove dirt from the mushrooms with a small brush or paintbrush and remove any dry ends. Otherwise, you can use the product in full. It is best to fry the mushrooms in a pan with a little butter or soak the dried specimens in water for 20 minutes before processing them further. Shiitake harmonize perfectly with poultry, lamb and game, but also fish and egg dishes. You can also use it to conjure up a risotto or ragout.

Shiitake mushrooms are delicious with a little sauce and roasted sesame oil. The general rule is: season carefully… the spices should only underline the fine taste of the mushrooms, not cover them up.

How to prepare dried mushrooms or porcini: ideal for sauces

Dried mushrooms are ideal for refining sauces, ragouts or pies. They are often more aromatic than fresh ones. Rinse off thoroughly before preparation. Then soak in warm water for 15 to 30 minutes and then add to the dish with the soaking water or stew. When shopping, you shouldn’t be confused by the small bags: 25 grams of dried mushrooms correspond to 250 grams of fresh ones.

How to dry mushrooms yourself

If you want to dry mushrooms yourself, you should cut off unsightly areas generously and cut the mushrooms into slices about five millimeters thick. Then dry in the sun, in the dehydrator or in the oven. When they are dry and hard, seal them airtight in a jar.

Frozen is better than canned

Mushrooms are also commercially available in jars or cans. However, because they swim in water, they lose most of their nutrients and much of their aroma. Frozen mushrooms are better: Freezing them preserves many nutrients, but they are not quite as crunchy and aromatic as fresh mushrooms. Do not thaw frozen mushrooms, process them directly.

Can you reheat mushrooms?

If there are leftovers from mushroom dishes, they should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten the next day. A one-time rewarming, which has long been classified as harmful, is not problematic according to current scientific knowledge. 

Prerequisite: The mushrooms are freshly prepared and after cooling down at two to a maximum of four degrees, they are stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of one day. When reheating the dish, heat it well at a minimum temperature of 70 degrees. Important: Even industrially preserved edible mushrooms, whether dried, frozen or sterilized, may only be warmed up once.

How to cook mushrooms in easy recipes

Mushroom mixed vegetables (for mushrooms and oyster mushrooms)

Ingredients: 400 g mushrooms, 400 g green peas, 4 carrots, 200 g asparagus, 50 g margarine or 4 tablespoons olive oil, 1 bind parsley, low sodium diet Salt

Cook the peas, chopped carrots and the cleaned asparagus separately in salted water. Add little margarine or oil to the peas and add the carrots and asparagus afterwards. Wash, dry, cut and steam with half of the margarine or with 2 tablespoons of oil until the moisture has evaporated. Add the mushrooms to the vegetable mixture, mix with the rest of the margarine and sprinkle with small-cut parsley before eating.

Oyster mushroom salad with cheese

Ingredients: 600 g oyster mushrooms, 200 g lean cheese, 200 ml kefir, lemon juice, low sodium diet salt, sweetener.

Wash the mushrooms, dry them and cook in salted water for 2-3 minutes, drain and cut into thin slices. Cut the cheese into thin slices or rasp and mix with the mushrooms. Mix kefir with a little lemon juice and sweetener (equivalent to 1 teaspoon sugar) and add to the mushroom-cheese mixture. Leave in the fridge for 1 hour before consumption.

Aubergine with Shiitake filling

Ingredients: 4 eggplant, 300 g shiitake, 100 g vegetable oil or margarine, 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs, 1 bunch parsley, salt, pepper

Wash the aubergines, cut through them for a long time and remove about half of the interior. Wash, dry and cut mushrooms. Steam the mushrooms together with the eggplant in little oil or margarine, with chopped parsley and to taste with salt and pepper until the moisture has evaporated. Pour the whole thing into the hollowed-out eggplant, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake for about 10 minutes in a casserole dish coated with oil or margarine.

Mushroom recipes for the grill

Grilling means cooking under browning on the grate or on the skewer without or with fat at high heat. Grilled mushrooms taste excellent. Due to the short cooking time and the juice contained by pore closure, the mushrooms are particularly aromatic and digestible.

It is recommended to brush the mushrooms with oil. Grill sticks used should also be well oiled. Spice is only after grilling.

Grilled shiitake or oyster mushrooms

Ingredients: 400 g mushrooms, salt, oil, pepper

Wash, dry, cook in salted water for 1 to 2 minutes and drain. Sprinkle mushrooms on both sides with some vegetable oil and roast directly on the grill or on aluminium foil on both sides. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spicy mushrooms, grilled

Ingredients: 400 g brown or white mushrooms, 4 onions,1 red chili pod, olive oil

Wash and dry mushrooms and peppers. Cut the mushrooms into slices, the chilli into small fine strips and the onions into rings. Mix all the ingredients and add to the aluminium bowl and brush with olive oil and roast on the grill from both sides.

Mushrooms on a skewer, marinated

400 g brown portobellos mushrooms (or large white mushrooms), 4 small tomatoes, 2 tbsp oil, salt, white pepper, lemon juice

Stir in the marinade, marinate for 5 minutes. Place on 4 oiled skewers and finish skewer with a tomato then grill for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice before serving.