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Mushrooms are flavoursome additions to your home-cook repertoire, yummy for a great variety of cuisines and cooking methods, as well as a nutritious meat replacement for vegan and vegetarian recipes. In fact, some mushrooms like shiitake are regarded as healthy food in Chinese culture. The rich potassium content can help lower blood pressure, while zinc aids to strengthen your immune system. Mushrooms are also low in calories, but high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making them a great source of both nutrients and umami flavour, with varying textures and tastes.
You can get fresh and dried mushrooms from your local supermarket or grocery. Keeping them in your ingredients stock is actually quite simple, so you can always have them handy for your home-cooked meals.
Signs to look out for
Mushrooms are generally easy to keep fresh. But like all foods, it’s always best to check that they are safe to eat. Slimy to touch, more shrivelled than their original dried form, darkened in colour, grown dark spots, and have a heavy, unpleasant odour the moment you open the bag – all signs that your mushrooms have gone bad.
How to store fresh mushrooms
Fresh mushrooms can stay supple for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. You can keep them in a resealable airtight wrap, or put them in a plastic bag lined with a paper towel to absorb the ambient moisture. Make sure to change the towels regularly. Another simple way is to put them in a brown paper bag and fold the top, but this should make them last for no longer than a week. Don’t place them near other foods with strong smells or flavours – the mushrooms will soak them up. Also don’t stack other foods on top of them, as they’ll get squished and bruised.
Alternatively, you can also dry your fresh mushrooms, especially if you plan to store them for more than 2 weeks.
How to store dried mushrooms
Dried mushrooms have a much longer shelf-life (up to a year) and a more concentrated flavour when cooked. To dry fresh mushrooms, preheat your oven at 170°C, arrange the mushrooms separately on a baking sheet and tray, and bake for 1 hour. Flip them and bake for another hour until the mushrooms are dry and crisp. You can also dry fresh mushrooms by simply arranging them as you would for baking, then leave them out in dry, hot weather for a week.
As mentioned, dried mushrooms are also available at the grocers, so you can always get those instead. To store, put them in an airtight container and keep them in your fridge or freezer. You can also store them this way in a cool, dry spot at your pantry cabinet, far from sunlight and moisture.
Dried mushrooms need to be rehydrated before cooking, and it’s as simple as soaking them in water for about 10-20 minutes. Rehydrated mushrooms regain their suppleness and release their rich umami flavours and textures when cooked. The liquid from rehydrated shiitake mushrooms also makes a tasty stock for other recipes and can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.
That’s it! Grab some mushrooms on your next grocery run and check out our many flavourful recipes to enjoy them!