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Myth: Mushrooms should never be rinsed

TRUTH: Maybe you’ve heard that mushrooms should be cleaned with a damp towel rather than rinsed under running water.  The theory is that because mushrooms are porous, they would absorb water, making them mushy and less appetizing.  Given that they’re already 90% water, I’m not too sure how much more they could absorb!

The truth is that mushrooms can be rinsed and cleaned under running water without retaining any of it.  You never want to rinse them for so long that they become soft, but that won’t happen during a quick cleaning.

On one of my favorite food shows, Good Eats, host Alton Brown actually runs an experiment to debunk this myth.  He soaks 4 ounces of mushrooms for 30minutes, weighing them at each 10 minute interval to determine how much water they’ve absorbed.  Results: in the first 10 minutes, the mushrooms soaks about a teaspoon of water (which would have virtually no impact on any mushroom dish you might cook).  After the 20 and 30 minute intervals, the mushrooms had not retained any more water than the initial teaspoon.

Lastly, Alton compares mushroom soaking to running them under cold water. And guess what?  The mushrooms that were run under cold water retained about a teaspoon of water.

BOTTOM LINE:  Don’t soak mushrooms so long that they become soft but clean ‘em thoroughly – however you choose to do that, via rinsing or soaking, won’t impact the quality of your mushrooms.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

  1. Kitchen Savvy: Cleaning Mushrooms
  2. Vegetarian Times: A Cook’s Guide to Mushrooms 

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