The button mushroom constantly gets overlooked. It seems like it is often a second or third choice when it comes to other mushrooms. However, that does not need to be the case. The button mushroom can give you plenty of flavor, health benefits, and more!
What is the button mushroom?
Also called white mushrooms, this fungus is the most common variety, and you can find it the world over. Button mushrooms can be small, medium, or large. For the most part, these mushrooms are small or medium and sometimes are described as bite-sized. The average size is about two to seven centimeters, making them ideal for appetizers, salads, and side dishes.
Although not many people know this, white mushrooms are the same kind as crimini and Portobello. The difference is that crimini is allowed to grow longer, making it turn bigger and richer in color and flavor. The Portobello grows for the longest time, giving it that very large size and dense flavor that makes it so unique.
Unlike other mushrooms, button mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked, making them ideal for any dish. They have a mild, soft texture and a very neutral flavor that absorbs sauce or fat well when cooked.
Here are the 5 things to know about the button mushroom
Fact #1. This mushroom contains many nutrients
Like other mushrooms, the button mushroom has various nutrients. This fungus is high in B vitamins, selenium, potassium, vitamin D, phosphorus, zinc, folate, and manganese.
Button mushrooms are also relatively high in protein, with about 20-30% of their weight being protein.
These mushrooms also contain a lot of fiber. As with other mushrooms, this one contains a high amount of beta-glucan, which is insoluble fiber. This type of fiber is very healthy and good for your body. Consuming beta-glucans can help remove cholesterol from your blood, manage blood sugar, promote healthy bacteria in the gut, and keep your bowels moving.
Fact #2. Cleaning this mushroom is very easy
Because the button mushroom is small and not yet very developed, it is the easiest one to clean. You will only need a little water and a soft brush or tissue. If your mushrooms are older, they may be harder to clean, falling apart easily.
Be sure to use only a little bit of water, or your mushroom will soak up the moisture and wrinkle quickly. Allow the button mushrooms to air-dry before you do anything else with them.
Fact #3. You can prepare button mushrooms in several ways
Since this mushroom is young, tender, and mild in flavor, it is versatile when it comes to preparing it.
If you are looking to prepare a salad, your mushrooms can simply be cleaned and served raw. However, you will want to choose those that are young and look sturdy. When you choose old mushrooms, you could damage the flavor and ruin your dish.
On the other hand, if you want to sauté these mushrooms, they obtain a perfect texture, aroma, and flavor this way. All you need to do is add a bit of olive oil and garlic to a skillet, place your mushrooms inside, and cook them for about five minutes or more. Your button mushrooms will crisp up, soften, and absorb the flavor.
You could also bake these mushrooms if you want. As opposed to bigger mushrooms, it will probably only take a few minutes, but the results are delicious. Try adding them to a tomato sauce base with some cheese and breadcrumbs, and the button mushrooms will not disappoint.
Not surprisingly, these mushrooms are also perfectly fine when fried. If you and your family are fans of fried things, like zucchini fries, fried pickles, or even fried mozzarella sticks, then using button mushrooms can be a healthy choice.
Finally, these mushrooms go well in a casserole, stew, or soup. All you need to do is wash them carefully, chop them, or add them whole, and allow them to soften for a few minutes. When your recipe is slow-cooked, add them with the rest of the vegetables, as they can withstand long cooking times without falling apart.
As a bonus, you can use your mushrooms to make a nutritious and tasty stock or broth. This type of broth is useful when you need a vegetarian or vegan option but still want flavor and nutrients.
Fact #4. To save money and time, preserving button mushroom is a good idea
Just like other mushrooms, button or white mushrooms can go bad quickly. Considering how nutritious they are and sometimes expensive, you may want to invest some time preserving them.
There are a few methods to use in preserving your button mushrooms. Try the following:
- Refrigeration: the easiest way to make sure your mushrooms do not go bad as quickly is by keeping them safe in the refrigerator. You can do this by keeping them in a bowl or container covered with waxed paper. Avoid plastic, as it will speed up the degradation process.
- Freezing: you can also save your mushrooms from going bad by freezing them, but you will want to flash-cook them first.
The easiest and fastest way is to sauté them in light olive oil, allowing them to cool down, placing them in a baking sheet, and freeze them for a couple of hours. After they are frozen, put them in a freezer bag for up to 12 months. When ready to cook with them, add them to your dish as they are.
- Dehydrating: dehydrated mushrooms are very easy to make, and they keep for a long time. You will need a dehydrator of choice, whether it is a small one or a large one that can hold your mushrooms for a few hours.
You should first clean the mushrooms, then slice them, and arrange them on the drying sheets. Since button mushrooms are small, it should take about 4 hours, but keep an eye out and check them every once in a while.
- Canning: this method takes more time and is a little more difficult. Still, if you are an avid canner, then it should not take that long. Some people prefer to pickle their mushrooms in brine, and preserve them this way, while others like to can them in water and salt. The quality may not be the same, as the texture and flavors will change.
Fact #5. You can also make a seasoning out of them
This last tip is a wonderful one. It is useful if you are not sure about what to do with your button mushrooms. If you have ever hoped to give your meals more umami, then mushroom powder is the right answer.
To make this powder, simply dry your mushrooms in the oven or dehydrate them ahead of time. Allow them to cool down, and then add them to a food processor or blender. You will need to make sure the mushrooms file down to a powder.
This mushroom powder can be kept for years as you would another seasoning, and it can be a great way to add substance and flavor to your meals.
Let’s get cooking button mushrooms!
Now that you know everything there is to know about button mushrooms, why not try some of your own?
This stuffed white button mushroom recipe is to die for when you want the main dish. For a colder day or a more homey meal, try this white mushroom soup with veggies. And if you need a quick but tasty appetizer, this balsamic mushrooms recipe is perfect!