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Mushroom for Improvement: Mushroom Cooking Mistakes to Correct

Mushroom Cooking Mistakes to Correct Porcini mushrooms in wooden tray over rustic background and woman's hand holding one mushroom, top view

Mushrooms are an amazing food which can be cooked in so many ways! Then why do they sometimes have the reputation for being a rubbery, slimy meal? That probably comes with some mushroom cooking mistakes you might be making yourself! Course-correct your process, if necessary, after you read this list.

They’re low in calories but high in health benefits. There are a lot of types of mushrooms out there, but most of them are rich in necessary mineral selenium, they produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, and some of them are a great source of iron. Not to mention they’re very diet-friendly, with their low-calorie content. They boost your immune system, strengthen your metabolism, and keep your bladder healthy. Holy shiitake, what more incentive to add mushrooms to your diet do you need?

6 mushroom cooking mistakes you might be making

1. You’re not drying them

Don’t cook damp mushrooms, because they will steam as the water evaporates and the texture of the food will end up being soggy, rubber-like, and unattractive. So clean your mushrooms and remove the dirt, but do it in a colander and then pat them dry with a kitchen towel. Or use a dry towel to remove the dirt from them.

Mushroom Cooking Mistakes to Correct

Make sure to properly clean and dry your mushrooms before cooking.

2. You’re not heating your pan enough

You will need a heavy, cast-iron pan which can maintain the heat while you’re cooking. Mushrooms have a porous texture, which means they absorb liquids really fast. If you cook them slowly, for a long while, then they will release their liquids and stew in them, instead of the water evaporating and the mushrooms cooking properly. Use medium-high or high heat. If you do, then water will evaporate immediately, and the mushrooms will brown nicely. If the edges of the mushrooms take on that color too suddenly, then turn the heat a little lower.

3. You’re crowding the pan

The high-water-content of the mushrooms is responsible for this as well. If you crowd your pan with too many mushrooms, the liquid won’t have that much room to evaporate from it. And the mushrooms will simmer in their own juices. Give them room to cook properly and you won’t regret that!

Mushroom Cooking Mistakes to Correct

Crowding the pan will make the mushrooms too mushy because they stew in their own juices.

4. You’re using salt too early

Don’t use salt too early in the game, because what salt does is draw moisture from the mushrooms, which leads to the same predicament from the previous points: steaming and simmering mushrooms which don’t retain their great natural texture. I know that seasoning is usually reserved for when you begin dishes, but this is a time when you just have to wait for the mushrooms to be cooked to add that salty flavor.

5. You are stirring the mushrooms

If you disturb the mushrooms constantly while cooking in the pan, means you’re robbing them of their potential to become golden brown in the end. Mushrooms need to properly caramelize and become a little bit crispy before you stir them or mix them with something else. Just don’t move them too much at least in the early stages of their cooking, that’s one of the main mushroom cooking mistakes. Don’t treat them as a stir-fry.

Mushroom Cooking Mistakes to Correct

Fried baguette slices with mushrooms, garlic, and herbs.

6. You’re using too little fat

Remember that mushrooms have a porous texture? Well, this means that they also absorb fats when cooked in them.  And if they don’t have enough fat around them, mushrooms are quite susceptible to browning too much, charring and sticking to the pan. Don’t add too much fat in the beginning either. Just add some butter or vegetable oil of your choosing every once in a while, when you see the fat disappearing into the meaty mushrooms.

Check out what other mistakes you might be making when cooking chicken, baking cakes, or whipping up some guacamole.

I’m a pop culture nerd who thinks too much about fried bacon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and life, the Universe and everything. I love food and sometimes you can see that on my hips, but I don't care that much about that.
What I do care more about is trying to eat healthier, even though I admit that I like to indulge in my food fantasies. I’m addicted to puns, so forgive me for that when you read my articles. I now know too much about nutrition to be fun to hang out with. So long and thanks for all the fish-based omega-3 fatty acids.

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