July 7, 2010
by Rita Demontis, Toronto Sun
Make it a mushroom moment — this delicate gift from Mother Earth offers the perfect compliment to any savoury dish, and is excellent for breakfast, lunch, dinner — even as a snack.
According to Foodland Ontario, mushrooms are fat-free and low in calories, and can be enjoyed raw or cooked. They do bruise easily, however, so do handle with care. To preserve freshness, store them in a brown paper bag and use them as soon as possible.
According to Mushrooms Canada, (founded in 1955 as a voluntary, non-profit organization whose members are dedicated to the production and marketing of fresh mushrooms nationally with membership including mushroom growers, processors, spawn makers, suppliers, scientists and other allied industries) Canadian mushrooms are available fresh every single day of the year.
Fresh mushrooms are firm to the touch, have uniform colour and have a slightly shiny surface, but don't be alarmed by particles of peat moss that may be on some of the mushrooms — they're completely harmless and may be brushed off prior to use.
And if you're only familiar with one type of mushroom, like the beloved button, stretch yourself creatively and try your hand at cooking up another mushroom available for use. You'd be surprised at the flavour sensations they offer, especially when you blend a bunch together. I recently did so with a plate of pasta and was amazed at how flavourful they all were, especially when I added three tiny drops of truffle oil to the finished dish.
Popular mushrooms in Canada
Some of the most popular mushrooms in Canada include:
- White "button": Three different sizes. Has a woodsy flavour which becomes stronger with cooking.
- Crimini "brown": Similar to the white mushroom in shape and size, but firmer to the touch. Meaty and earthy flavour.
- Portabella (portabellini): The largest of the domestic mushrooms.
- Shiitake: Have large, fleshy brown caps; their taste is meaty and woodsy.
- Oyster: Have a light to dark brown, funnel-shaped cap with a delicate flavour and velvety texture.
- Enoki: Have long, slender white stems with tiny, firm caps. Very mild, delicate flavour with a slight crunch.
- Chanterelle: Are trumpet-shaped, bright yellow to orange in colour and have a delicate, nutty flavour.
To see two of Rita's favourite mushroom recipes check out the article on the Toronto Sun Website.
posted by Brittany
posted by Brittany