Improve winter cooking with delicious, savoury mushrooms

This article was originally published in the Winter 2016 issue of Cottage Life magazine.

Give your winter menu an easy, savoury lift with readily available and delectable mushrooms.

Here’s how to acquire, store, and cook with them:

Store mushrooms in a loosely closed paper bag in the fridge. Use fragile varieties, such as the oyster and enoki, in 1–2 days. Small cremini and white buttons are the best keepers: up to a week.

Prepare using a soft brush to remove any dirt from gills of fragile varieties. A gentle wipe with a damp cloth or a quick dunk in cold water won’t hurt small, firm types such as cremini or white. Drain quickly and pat dry. Remove stalks if tough: chop, and add to a stuffing, or freeze, and save for stock.

Use dried wild mushrooms to add flavour to sauces and stews. Soak 10 minutes to an hour in warm water to soften. Drain, squeeze, and pat dry. Strain and reserve soaking liquid to use in stocks or as part of liquid in the dish you are preparing.

Forage for wild mushrooms only with an expert. Wild mushrooms flourish in field and forest according to our seasons—but some are deadly poisonous. And bear in mind that many edible mushrooms have a poisonous twin. Be wise!

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