Monday, July 16, 2007

Preserving your Fresh Mushrooms

Sautéing and Freezing your Mushrooms

How to Sauté Mushrooms
One the quickest and easiest ways to freeze fresh mushrooms. To start, slice or chop your fresh mushrooms, or if using presliced mushrooms - you are one step ahead. Heat 1 tbsp (per 8oz of mushrooms) in a fry pan over medium high heat. Add mushroom to hot pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until mushrooms are brown and tender. If you wish to have flavoured mushrooms you may also sauté with garlic, onions, and/or spices. Allow mushrooms to cool, then transfer to a small freezer container. Pushing the mushrooms to the bottom of the container and covering the top with a small piece of plastic wrap will help prevent freezer burn. Make sure to label the containers with the date.

When ready to use your frozen mushrooms simply pop them out of the container and drop the frozen block into the frying pan. Add ½ tbsp of oil and sauté until mushrooms are warm. There is no need to pre-thaw the mushrooms.

- The is the best method to use when you want to maintain the taste and texture of a fresh sauté.

- If the mushrooms are not packed tight into the container, air will start to cause freezer burn.
- Freezer burn will slightly alter the taste and texture of the mushrooms.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Research finds that fresh mushrooms contain a substantial amount of vitamin D

"Research finds that fresh mushrooms contain a substantial amount of vitamin D

Published: Monday, July 9, 2007 1:05 PM ET

Canadian Press: JUDY CREIGHTON

(CP) - Vitamin D, which is being used as a weapon in the fight against everything from cancer to arthritis and osteoporosis, can also be found in substantial quantities in fresh mushrooms, says a spokesman for the industry.

This could be good news for those who are deficient in vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin.

In June, a four-year clinical trial involving 1,200 women found those taking the vitamin had about 60 per cent reduction in cancer incidence.

Just after the news was released, the Canadian Cancer Society recommended a specific amount of vitamin D supplementation for Canadians to consider taking. It suggested adults living in Canada should consider taking 1,000 international units of vitamin D a day during the fall and winter.

William Stevens, executive vice-president of Mushrooms Canada, based in Guelph, Ont., says that in some preliminary studies in the United States in which mushrooms were exposed to ultraviolet radiation the vitamin D contained in them "just skyrocketed and exceeded by 687 times the daily requirement for the vitamin."

"Two years ago the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) told the mushroom industry both in Canada and the U.S. that if it would sponsor research into vitamin D they would actively pursue it," he says. "We in Canada said we would supply the raw materials for the research."

As a result, Stevens is working with the Guelph Food Technology Centre. There, fresh mushrooms are being exposed to ultraviolet radiation under controlled conditions. Then they are freeze-dried and shipped to the FDA where they are subjected to animal studies as a component of their research.

In the past, the only important research on the nutrient value of mushrooms has taken place in the United States, he says.

"There is a very active school at Pennsylvania State University which is dealing with mushrooms from growing right through to marketing," Stevens says, "because half of the mushrooms grown in North America are grown in one county in Pennsylvania, so the university always has had an inherent interest."

He suggests that the intense focus on specialty mushrooms in particular and information coming out of Asia, "where they always felt that mushrooms had medicinal and therapeutic properties, has renewed interest in any benefits mushrooms contain."

For example, a 2006 study conducted at the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope in Duarte, Calif., found that daily consumption of 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of mushrooms would help suppress breast tumour growth in women. However, the authors added that much more research, including human studies, needs to be done before any specific recommendations can be made.

Results from the Physicians' Health Study conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, both in Boston, Mass., noted that higher levels of selenium contained in mushrooms may slow the progression of prostate cancer tumours.

"As well, there are quite a few studies taking place on immunity factors, such as pain relief, tumours and arthritis," says Stevens, noting that because of their high vitamin D content mushrooms are being used in the research.

Other foods containing vitamin D include fortified milk, fatty fish (cod liver oil, mackerel, sardines, salmon and tuna), fortified orange juice and cereals, egg yolks and some cheeses.

But a warning: consuming amounts greater than 2,000 IU a day could cause such problems as nausea, vomiting, poor appetite and other conditions; check the label on multivitamins to make sure that you do not exceed this amount.

Mushrooms also contain significant amounts of B vitamins, are low in calories and fat, a valuable source of fibre and are cholesterol-and carbohydrate-free.
For more information on related topics, visit
Judy Creighton welcomes letters at 9 Kinnell St., Hamilton, Ont., L8R 2J8, but cannot promise to answer all correspondence personally. She can also be reached by e-mail at"

Monday, July 9, 2007

Preserving your Fresh Mushrooms

Preserving your Fresh Mushrooms

Over the next two weeks we are going to explore the many ways of preserving your fresh mushrooms. From Blanching to Pickling, we will take a look at how, why and the pros and cons of these preserving methods.

Today we are going to start with blanching.

How to Blanch Mushrooms
Blanching is the handiest way to preserve large amounts of mushrooms. First you should start with washing the mushrooms. Place them in a colander and run cold water over them to remove any particles of peat moss. Next, plunge the clean mushrooms directly into a pot of boiling water. Remove mushroom after 3 minutes with colander and plunge into cold water, this will immediately stop the cooking process. Once cooled, the mushrooms should be rinsed and then place in plastic freezer containers. Make sure to leave enough headspace, about 1 inch, in the container so it does not rupture. Small 8 oz containers work great as they are usually enough to drop into any recipe. Label containers with the date and pop into the freezer.

Blanched mushrooms are great when they are used in soups, stews, and pasta sauces. Prep is as easy as removing from the freezing and dropping the frozen mushrooms into the pot. There is no need to defrost before hand.


- Blanching stops enzymatic action and prevents mushrooms from turning into mush.
- Very easy to do large amounts of mushrooms in a short period of time.
- Very convenient to use, just place the frozen mass directly into cooking pot.
- Holds the mushrooms flavour well.


- Blanched mushrooms are not of the quality to fry or sauté or crisp.
- Usually limited to “One Pot Cooking” type meals.