Do You Need To Wash Your Mushrooms?

Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, you just can’t ignore them. 

Yes, we’re talking about mushrooms

Opinion varies on whether they are the earth’s gift to vegetarians or just a cruel joke of the universe. If you fall in the former category, there are some things you need to know because the harsh truth is that all mushrooms are dirty. Whether they’re cultivated varieties like button mushrooms or portobellos, or wild ones like chanterelles, they all have ridges or ‘gills’ on the underside that trap soil and dirt particles very easily. 

There’s a lot of debate about whether or not to use water while cleaning mushrooms, since their naturally high water content (85% - 95%) means that waterlogged mushrooms are prone to having a more diluted taste and sliminess which nobody wants. 

Image Credit: v.ivash/freepik


Here are a few methods to ensure your mushrooms are grit and dirt free to let their natural flavours shine.

1.    Dry Brush: Give your mushrooms a quick once over, if they look relatively clean, you can use a dry kitchen town or a damp cloth to gently brush away any debris on the skins. There are even specialised mushroom brushes with bristles that get in between the gills but a pastry brush would do the trick too.

2.    Shallow Scrub: Still looking a little grimy? Fill a bowl or shallow plate with a few centimetres of water and use that to rub the dirt off the mushrooms.

3.    Quick Rinse: This method is probably the easiest. Put the mushrooms in a colander and rinse them under running water. You’ll need to work fast though to make sure they don’t take on too much moisture and be sure to shake them dry as soon as you’re done.

4.    Remove the Skins: Definitely a fiddly approach, but you’ll be left with sparkling clean mushrooms with this method. Flip them over, reach under the gill and peel away the top layer of skin. Repeat as you rotate the mushroom.

5.    Flour Scrub: This is a great method for dirt that’s really dried in. Add a couple of tablespoons of flour to a bowl of dry mushrooms and start rubbing them gently between your hands. This should scour off the excess dirt and then you can quickly rinse off the flour before cooking.

6. Chop and Wash: The absolute last resort, this method should only be used if you’re faced with a batch of mushrooms that looks like they’re still underground. Rinse once under running water and then chop them into vertical quarters before rinsing again. Be sure to pat them dry before cooking