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Guide to Vegatables

Button Mushrooms

Button Mushrooms

There is nothing like fried mushrooms on toast for breakfast, served sizzling hot straight from the pan. Once cooked, mushrooms, especially fried ones, go soft and flabby quite quickly; they still taste fine but the pleasure is not so great.

In the past, mushrooms have had a firm association with the supernatural and even today their connection with the mysterious side of life hasn't completely disappeared. Fairy rings - circles of mushrooms - inexplicably appear overnight in woods and fields and thunder is still thought to bring forth fresh crops of mushrooms.

Many types of mushrooms and fungi are either poisonous or hallucinogenic. The use of the term mushroom to mean edible species, and toadstool to mean those considered poisonous, has no scientific basis, and there is no simple rule for distinguishing between the two. Picking wild mushrooms is not safe unless you are confident about identifying edible types. In France, during the autumn, people take the wild mushrooms they have gathered to the local pharmacy for identification.

Button mushrooms are cultivated and widely available in shops and are sold when very young and tiny as button mushrooms. The slightly larger ones are known as closed cap, while larger ones still are open capped or open cup mushrooms. They have ivory or white caps with pinky/beige gills which darken as they mature. All have a pleasant unassuming flavor.

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