Mushroom Buying Guide

Nutritious and versatile, mushrooms make a great side dish and are a tasty addition to salads, sauces casseroles. This mushroom buying guide offers helpful shopping and cooking tips.

Mushrooms 101

Mushrooms are delicious and can be prepared in many different ways. You can sauté them in a pan for a tasty side dish or add them to soups, stews, sauces and vegetable dishes. Mushrooms are also good for you, providing many of the nutritional attributes associated with produce, plus others found in meat, beans and grains. This tasty food choice is also low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free and very low in sodium. Important nutrients common to mushrooms include selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin D. 

Types of Mushrooms


White Mushrooms

White mushrooms are extremely versatile. This popular mushroom is neutral in flavour, so it absorbs the flavours of the meats and vegetables around it during cooking. You should choose white mushrooms that are firm, plump and cream coloured. Also, look for short, clean-cut stems and caps, and pink or light-tan gills. White mushrooms are great sautéed and served as a side dish, or used as an ingredient in appetizers, soups and entrées.

Brown or Cremini Mushrooms

Cremini mushrooms are actually immature Portobello mushrooms. They look similar to white button mushrooms, except for their brown caps. They also have a richer, earthier flavour than white mushrooms, making them a great addition to hearty meals featuring beef, game and vegetables. You'll have fun experimenting with them to enhance your family's favourite sautéed, baked and broiled dishes.

Chanterelle Mushrooms

Chanterelle mushrooms are quite rare and known for their beautiful yellow-orange colour. They're also recognized for their distinctive taste — a combination of black pepper, butter, apricot and earthy flavours. Some species have a fruity aroma, while others have a more woodsy, earthy or spicy fragrance. Chanterelle mushrooms range in size from tiny blossoms to 5-in. trumpets. They can be used in any recipe calling for mushrooms and are great in pasta, risotto or egg dishes such as omelets, quiches and frittatas.

Enoki Mushrooms

Sold in clusters, enoki mushrooms have skinny stalks with small caps that are firm, bouncy and slightly crunchy. Before using, trim off the bottom inch or so of the cluster. Enoki mushrooms have a mild, sweet flavour and are very tasty when eaten raw or lightly cooked in salads, stir-fries or sandwiches. 

Morel Mushrooms

Morel mushrooms have cone-shaped sponge-textured caps. Considered wild mushrooms, they range in length from 2 to 4 inches and vary in colour from pale cream to almost black. The darker the color, the earthier you can expect flavour to be. Morel mushrooms are fragile and highly perishable. Don't wash them until you're ready to cook them because they absorb water and are more likely to mold or rot if stored after cleaning.

Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms have a funnel-shaped cap ranging in colour from light to dark brown, with gills that are whitish yellow. Lighter coloured oyster mushrooms usually have a subtler flavour. Delicate and tender, this mushroom can be eaten raw and cooks quickly. With their mild taste and velvety texture, they go great with chicken, seafood and pork. 

Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms have large brown caps up to six inches in diameter. They're really an overgrown white mushroom with a delicious meaty cap that's perfect for stuffing with cheese or crab meat and bread crumbs. Portobello mushrooms make a great side dish for meals featuring fish or steak, and they're excellent as the main ingredient in vegetarian dishes.

Shitake Mushrooms

Shitake mushrooms are brown with umbrella-shaped caps. Their soft, spongy quality and meaty, woodsy flavor make them great for stir-fries and pastas because they absorb flavours, while also contributing to the flavour of the meal. Shitakes mushrooms are particularly popular in Asian cuisine and have been used medicinally by the Chinese for more than 6,000 years.

Mushroom Buying Tips:

• Fresh mushrooms should be firm to the touch, with a fresh, smooth appearance
• Choose mushrooms that have minimal blemishes on the caps
• Fresh mushrooms should appear dry, but not dried out
• Avoid mushrooms that have any smell of mildew, mold or mustiness
• Avoid mushrooms that look shriveled, dried out, dark or wet
• Discoloured, broken and damaged mushrooms with soft spots should be avoided

Mushroom Safety & Handling Tips:

• The particles of peat moss sometimes found on mushrooms are harmless and can be easily cleaned off
• A good way to clean mushrooms is to use a pastry brush, dry paper towel or damp paper towel
• If rinsing with water, be sure it's cold and dry them afterwards in a colander or layers of papers towels
• Mushrooms soak up water like sponges, so limit their exposure to water to keep them from getting soggy
• Don't store fresh mushrooms in airtight containers
• Mushrooms spoil quickly if stored in a plastic bag
• In mushrooms are stored in the refrigerator in a brown paper bag, they'll keep for up to a week
• Mushrooms are best when they are used within a few days of purchase
• Never freeze fresh mushrooms
• Research thoroughly before picking your own wild mushrooms since many are highly toxic and can be life threatening
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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