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Choosing Mushrooms - Pick Edible Button Mushrooms

The button mushroom is also referred to as white mushroom, common mushroom, table mushroom and cultivated mushroom among several other names. Although mushrooms are prepared like vegetables, they are in actual fact, fungi. These mushrooms are rich in Vitamin D and Vitamin B apart from containing minerals such as phosphorous, sodium and trace amounts of potassium. In addition to this, they also contain minimal amounts of calcium, iron and protein. Recent research conducted on the common mushroom seem to indicate that it is capable of lowering estrogen levels in the body and may reduce chances of breast cancer, although definite claims have not yet been made.
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This variety is also believed to boost the immune system to some extent if consumed on a daily basis.

When choosing mushrooms, take care to pick ones that are not bruised with the caps firm and with the base joined to the gills. Avoid the ones that are broken, wrinkled or have a slimy feel to the touch. If you wish to keep them for later, store them unwashed in a dry and cool place. Take care to not keep them in plastic bags, you may instead put them in a brown paper bag or in a tupperware box and refrigerate it. You can wrap them up in a damp cloth and then lay them out on another moist cloth placed on a glass dish.

This will keep them fresh for several days ahead without getting soggy and spoilt. While these mushrooms were previously seasonal, they are now cultivated in farms and are available throughout the year. Mushrooms have a tendency to absorb too much water and hence while cleaning them before cooking, try to use as minimal water as possible. You may use a mushroom brush which is available in most stores selling kitchen ware or you can just use a damp wash cloth or paper towel to wipe them. Some people, however, suggest leaving them immersed for a while in a pan of water to which a little turmeric has been added. The mushrooms are taken out after a while and squeezed to get out the extra water before being diced for cooking. In case your recipe demands the use of whole mushrooms, all you need to do is to slice off the spongy bottom part of each mushroom. If the recipe involves using only the white caps, you can just break off the stem and keep it aside for use in soup stock.

Submitted on January 16, 2014
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