Using Leftover Mushroom Stems

Using Leftover Mushroom Stems

Don't throw them away! Instead chop them finely by hand or in a food processor, then saute them in butter until their liquid evaporates. Freeze the mixture to have instant mushroom flavor on hand. Toss them into rice, or toss with chopped fresh herbs and minced garlic to use as a stuffing for chicken, omelet, or ravioli.

To make mushroom paste, grind leftover cooked mushrooms in a food processor or blender, adding enough broth or stock to form a loose paste. Freeze in ice cube trays. When the cubes are frozen, pop them out and store in a zipper-lock freezer bag. Use the cubes to add mushroom flavor to pan sauces, soups, gravies, stuffing, cooked grains, or pasta sauce.

In order to avoid the dark stain of portobello mushrooms, scrape the dark gills from the underside of each mushroom cap before cooking. The gills tend to bleed a dark juice that stains other foods that are cooked with portobello mushrooms.  To ensure mushrooms are cooked evenly especially those thick firm stems, slit them in half three-fourth of the way up to the cap. That way, the heat can penetrate through the stems at the same rate as the more tender caps.

As to brown the white button mushrooms, drain off the juices partway through cooking and set aside in a bowl to add to the recipe later for flavoring. And to avoid dark, off-colored cooked mushrooms, do not cook them in an aluminum pan.

Salvaging dry, overcooked mushrooms is not hard. Just simmer them in some stock or canned broth, water, wine or cream for a few minutes. Or just eat them as is - their flavor will still be wonderfully concentrated. When cooking, you can help white mushrooms retain their color. Wipe them with a paper towel moistened with fresh lemon juice, spritz them with lemon water from a spray bottle, or lightly coat them with a vinaigrette, if appropriate. This trick works well when you want fresh white mushrooms to retain their color in a salad.

Tips : To quickly clean a large amount of mushrooms.

Place the mushrooms in a large bowl. Spray with cold water, loosening as much dirt as possible until the bowl is half-filled with water. Vigorously swish the mushrooms back and forth for no more than 30 seconds, until most of the dirt loosens from the mushrooms and falls to the bottom of the bowl. Quickly lift out the mushrooms with your hands and transfer them to paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. Slice and use immediately.

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