How to Cut Mushrooms with Step-by-Step Instructions
Mushrooms are versatile and can be used in many recipes. You can add them to pasta, toss them in a salad, or cook them with meat. You can grill, sauté, stir-fry, roast, or stuff them to make mouth-watering dishes. The best part about mushrooms is that they can be paired with many other veggies and meats, and they also make a great substitute for meat.
But before you cook with mushrooms, you must know how to prep and cut mushrooms to get the best flavor out of them.
How to clean mushrooms
If you have noticed bits of dirt stuck on store-bought mushrooms, it is quite common and normal. Some of the compost and other things that are used to grow mushrooms remain on the mushrooms. And your first instinct is probably to wash it off before you cook it.
But washing may not be the right thing to do. Some experts say that mushrooms absorb water and can affect the browning process when you cook them. Others say that some mushrooms must be washed before cooking, especially wild mushrooms and ones like porcini and shiitake mushrooms that have a lot of dirt on them.
You can clean mushrooms using the following methods:
- Lightly rinse mushrooms in cool water and dry them with a paper towel before cooking. You can even spin them in a salad spinner to get rid of the moisture.
- Use a damp paper towel or soft mushroom brush to wipe each mushroom.
What you need to cut mushrooms
Before you cut any mushrooms, you will need the following equipment:
- Cutting board
- Chef’s knife or a paring knife
- Paper towels
- Clean bowl to transfer cut mushrooms
How to trim mushrooms
After the mushrooms are cleaned and dried, place them on the cutting board and cut off the stems, close to the cap of the mushroom. This is known as trimming.
Trimming is necessary, as mushroom stems can be inedible or tough, especially when sautéing or roasting mushrooms. Some mushrooms like portobello and crimini have woody and fibrous stems which can be difficult to eat.
Trimmed mushrooms are also easier to cut as they remain steady on the cutting board as you cut or slice them.
Another way to remove the stems is by moving them in all directions and twisting them till they snap.
Use the discarded stems for recipes that require minced mushrooms or for making stock.
How to cut mushrooms
There are 4 basic ways to cut mushrooms, depending on the recipe you are making.
How to slice mushrooms
Sliced mushrooms are perfect for pizza, pasta, and salads. You can even sauté them with other veggies.
- Place the mushroom stem side down on the cutting board.
- Slice across the mushroom to your desired thickness.
How to chop mushrooms
Chopped mushrooms are great for soups and stews or for sautéing, and they give an interesting flavor and texture to the meal.
- Cut through the center of the mushroom placed on the board stem-side down.
- Take 1 half and place the flat side on the board. Cut vertically into smaller slices.
- Turn the slice mushroom pieces at a 90-degree angle and cut through them again.
How to quarter mushrooms
This is a great way to prepare mushrooms for roasting or sautéing, especially if you are cooking crimini or button mushrooms. Cutting mushrooms in quarters results in more tender and flavorful pieces as more of the mushroom is exposed to heat and spices.
- Place the mushroom on the cutting board stem-side down and slice right through the middle.
- Turn the 2 halves around and cut through the middle again at a 90-degree angle to the first cut.
How to dice mushrooms
Diced mushrooms can be used in a stuffing mixture, or added to minced meat, or cooked in pasta dishes.
- First, slice the mushrooms and then lay them flat on the cutting board.
- Slice them again and cut them again in the opposite direction.
- You can continue to cut them to get a mince.
Chopping mushrooms with a food processor
If you don’t want to use a knife, an easy way to chop mushrooms is to use a food processor.
- Cut mushrooms in half, after removing the stems.
- Put the mushroom pieces in the food processor.
- Pulse until mushrooms are chopped into smaller pieces.
How to cut mushrooms for pasta
For most pasta dishes, thinly cut slices will work best, complementing the pasta sauce with a beautiful meaty flavor.
Trim the stems before cutting when using portobello, crimini, or button mushrooms. For other mushroom varieties, simply hold the mushrooms to keep them steady and slice.
How to cut oyster mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms differ from other mushrooms. They come bundled together and are attached to the same central stem. To trim the mushroom, use the tip of a sharp knife and slice the stem across. The individual caps will separate as you make the cut.
How to prep mushrooms for stuffing
Portobello mushrooms are often used for stuffed mushroom recipes. These mushrooms have dark brown gills on the underside that can get quite slimy while cooking. You can scrape the gills with a metal spoon to get a cleaner finish; however, you may sacrifice some flavor in the bargain.
To make stuffed portobello mushrooms, it’s best to remove the gills as they get in the way of the stuffing mixture. To do this, simply hold the mushroom in one hand (after removing the stem) and scrape the gills with a spoon.
For other mushroom varieties, like button mushrooms and crimini mushrooms, simply fill each mushroom with the desired filling using a spoon. You can also use a melon baller to create a deeper cavity for more stuffing.
Cooking with cut-up mushrooms
Now that you know how to prep and cut mushrooms, you can start cooking some delicious recipes for your family and friends. Start with buying various types of mixed mushrooms from Instacart.
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