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Old 12-25-2005, 10:11 PM   #11
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They used to grow them in horse manure, and that was reason enough for me to wash them off. They probably use a soilless mix now.
The only wild ones we ever get are morels, and they must be soaked in salt water to get all the little varmints out. We have friends who also get hen-of-the-woods, and I think they soak those too. They are a good one to use in soups and stew, as they need a bit of cooking.
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Old 12-25-2005, 11:08 PM   #12
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Nowadays, I'll spray the bits of dark stuff off of the mushrooms but back in the day, mushrooms were raised very differently. Most of the white mushrooms that my folks and grandfolks purchased were from mushroom farms set up in abandoned railway tunnels in the foot hills of the Appalachians. Over time, they figured out how to sterilize the horse crap (I don't know how) and the practice of washing mushrooms became a formality. Again, I've never been sick!
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Old 12-26-2005, 03:32 PM   #13
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I've always put mine in a collander, trying to keep the mushrooms "right-side up". Then I use my kitchen faucet sprayer-thing to give them a good, strong shower. The jet of water will knock off any dirt that's stuck on them, and very little water reaches the underside of the 'shrooms (whether or not absorption is a problem).

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Old 12-26-2005, 08:02 PM   #14
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if I am using in a stew or soup, wash em! If I am sauteing in a hot skillet with evoo and butter (so good!) I brush them. THen it also depends on the type. Buttons and criminis not a big prob to wash them, but some of the fancier ones don't do real well in water.
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Old 12-27-2005, 05:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 240brickman
I've always put mine in a collander, trying to keep the mushrooms "right-side up". Then I use my kitchen faucet sprayer-thing to give them a good, strong shower. The jet of water will knock off any dirt that's stuck on them, and very little water reaches the underside of the 'shrooms (whether or not absorption is a problem).

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That's what I do, too. I always wash em off.
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Old 12-27-2005, 08:46 PM   #16
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All of the info about peeling mushrooms being generally correct, I do have to say that in some instances, especially when using portobellos, it's okay - and even preferable to peel them first. If you're making a beautiful pale veloute sauce with portobello in it, the skin can color the sauce a rather ugly brown. This I learned from my favorite French chef - in rather a hurry, when he pitched a major hissy fit that I hadn't peeled a case of portos before I sliced them!
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Old 12-28-2005, 05:24 AM   #17
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Some mushrooms have that nasty looking underside that is better to remove before including it in a recipe. I don't remember just which ones have it, but it doesn't look nice.
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Old 12-28-2005, 10:46 AM   #18
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If I don't want the brown coloring, I scrape out the gills on the underside of the cap. They don't add much to the flavor and darken the recipe.
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Old 02-04-2008, 08:15 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW View Post
Mushrooms are already about 90% water - so how much more could they absorb from a quick washing? Harold McGee was curious and did an experiment to find out (ref p 182, The Curious Cook) - and Alton Brown took it a little farther and demonstrated it in episode number EA1H22 of Good Eats - Myth Smashers. AB didn't note much difference between 5-minutes vs 30-minutes of soaking. These are Harold's results:

He took some (23) mushrooms (Harold is frugal - so these were probably just common white button mushrooms although he didn't specify) and weighed them (252 grams = 8.889 oz). He then soaked them in water for 5 minutes, blotted off the water on the outside and weighed them again. They now weighed 258 grams (9.10 oz). So, on the average, each mushroom absorbed a whopping 3.75 drops of water!


As a mushroom grows up through the earth - only the top and sides of the cap, and the base of the stem, come in direct contact with the "dirt". The gills on the underside don't. By soaking the mushrooms, some moisture might be absorbed via the stem (depending on how fresh they are - and if you trim the base of the stem off before soaking), and some moisture is probably trapped between the gills via capillary action.

If you are going to eat the mushrooms raw then "maybe" you could taste a difference (bet you couldn't unless the water was really funky) but they would not be waterlogged - but if you're going to cook them it's a moot point since they will release their moisture.

I saw that show , very helpful.
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