Cultivated or wild, mushrooms are everywhere, in every house, every pizzeria, every soup menu. Mushrooms are great in adding depth and flavour to any dish with its distinctive earthy aroma and springy texture. These little flavour-sponges are also relatively cheap and ever-so readily available. Yet, one common dilemma we home cooks all face with these delectable fungi is “Should we wash them?”

The struggle is real.

80% water

Portobello, Button, Shitake, or Enoki, we were always told to keep our mushrooms as far from the sink as possible for fear that they will take a big drink once they come in contact with water and begin to lose their flavour. Little did we know, porous as they may be, mushrooms are actually over 80% water to begin with. Now, don’t we start to question its ability to absorb even more water and what little difference washing them may make?

But, why wash them?

Mushrooms are, ultimately, fungi and they grow in dirt. It wouldn’t be pleasant to be having sand in your stew, or in any food per say. To avoid this, simply put your mushrooms in a salad spinner, rinse them under running water, and spin them dry afterwards. You just want to give them a shower, not a bath. One tip to remember is to only rinse your mushrooms before cutting them because the exposed flesh of cut mushrooms absorbs way more water than their uncut friends. And, be careful not to wash your mushrooms until you are ready to cook them so as to prevent them from turning slimy.

When not to wash them?

On the contrary, do not wash your mushrooms if you intend to serve them raw. Rinsing your mushrooms may cause some form of discolouration, and you want your mushrooms to look as good as they taste. Simply wipe them down with a damp cloth, or if you know that the mushrooms are from a good place (like all good cooks do), just go straight from farm to table! Like what we did with our Cashew Cream of Mushroom!

What do you think? Will you start washing your shrooms?