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Autumn is the peak season for mushrooms. At this time of year, mushrooms are abundantly available not only in the forest, but also in the supermarket. 

Besides champignons, which are available all year round, you can also buy chanterelles, porcini mushrooms or oyster mushrooms in the supermarket in autumn. You can find an even wider range of different types of mushrooms at the farmer’s market or special mushroom markets.

Mushrooms are very delicate and spoil easily. In this article you will learn how to properly select, store and prepare mushrooms to get the most out of them.

How to spot fresh mushrooms

Before buying mushrooms, always inspect them well. Mushrooms in the supermarket are usually imported and have already been transported a long way. In the store, the mushrooms are often improperly stored, which further accelerates their decay.

Eating spoiled mushrooms can lead to stomach ache or nausea. Therefore, make sure you only buy fresh mushrooms. Avoid pre-packaged containers. Rather, buy the mushrooms loose so you can inspect their quality. The best way to judge mushrooms is to look at them from all sides and smell them.

The mushrooms' flesh should be firm and plump, neither slimy and blotchy nor dried out. You can recognize fresh mushrooms particularly well by their smell: If a mushroom smells unpleasantly musty, keep your hands off it. Also pay attention to the size of the mushrooms: smaller mushrooms are generally more enjoyable than larger mushrooms of the same species. 

Fresh champignons have a closed or half-open head. The lamellae are light to medium brown. Both cap and stalk feel dry and firm. 

You can recognize fresh chanterelles by their white-yellow color. As they age, they become darker and darker. Spoiled chanterelles are brown and soft.

How to store mushrooms

Fresh mushrooms cannot be kept for long. Once bought, use them as quickly as possible. Don't store the mushrooms in plastic. The moisture cannot escape from the airtight plastic bags and the mushrooms rot faster. Rather, keep them in a paper bag in the vegetable drawer of your fridge. If you store the mushrooms in a cool, dark and airy place they will last for up to three days. 

How to clean mushrooms

Mushrooms from the supermarket usually do not need much cleaning. With champignons, for example, it is most often sufficient to rub them gently with a kitchen towel. 

Opinions are divided as to whether you should wash mushrooms or not. Some claim that mushrooms quickly soak up water and lose their aroma. However, several experiments by experts have refuted these claims. Briefly rinsing the mushrooms under the faucet will not change their taste. Alternatively, you can put them in a colander and swirl them briefly in the water-filled sink. Just do not let them sit in the water for too long and make sure you dry the mushrooms well afterwards.

Washing your mushrooms will not lead to a loss of flavor. However, contact with water can make the mushrooms slippery. If you do not like that, you can also use a mushroom or kitchen brush to remove soil debris from the mushrooms. It is important that the brush has soft bristles and that you are gentle so as not to damage the mushrooms.

After cleaning the mushrooms, remove any muddy or dry areas, such as the dry end of the stem, with a sharp knife. Cut the mushrooms into slices or pieces as you prefer.

How to cook mushrooms

Mushrooms are very versatile. You can fry them, braise them, boil them, grill them or bake them.

With a few exceptions, you should always heat mushrooms before eating them. Champignons, for example, are one of the few types of mushrooms that can be eaten raw. However, even champignons are difficult to digest raw.

Fried mushrooms are particularly easy and popular. Important: Fry the mushrooms only briefly, but at high heat. Otherwise they lose too much water and become mushy.

If you have leftovers after the meal, cool them immediately in a bath of cold water and deposit them in the refrigerator. Then you can easily reheat the mushrooms within a day or two.

You got a craving for mushrooms now? Then add some to your Bring! Shopping List!

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