Man has collected and eaten mushrooms for centuries, and people still collect wild mushrooms in many places. The varieties used in Mediterranean cooking are button, open cup and flat but regional wild species, such as ceps, chanterelles and oyster mushrooms are to be found in the markets during autumn. Mushrooms can be finely sliced and eaten raw, dressed with extra virgin olive oil. Or they can be brushed with olive oil and grilled.
How to Clean MushroomsLearning how to clean mushrooms the right way will help prevent them from becoming soggy so they stay fresh longer. Follow these helpful hints for marvelous mushrooms. Mushrooms should not be washed or they will become waterlogged and mushy. The best way to clean fresh mushrooms is to cut off the earthy base of the stalk and lightly brush the caps with a soft brush or wipe them clean with a damp cloth or paper towel. If you must rinse them, do it lightly, then dry them immediately—and gently—with paper towels. Never soak fresh mushrooms in water, which will cause them to become soggy. This method works for all mushrooms except morels.
How to Store MushroomsPrepackaged mushrooms should stay in the package but never store mushrooms in a plastic bag, as they will sweat and turn slimy and moldy. Put fresh mushrooms in a paper bag or in a damp cloth bag and keep in the vegetable drawer of the fridge for one or two days. This allows them to breathe so they stay firm longer. If you want to store the mushrooms after cleaning them up, wrap them loosely in damp paper towels or a damp clean cotton cloth, and place the bundle in a bowl. Keeping towels damp prevents mushrooms from drying out.
Avoid storing mushrooms in a plastic bag, which causes them to deteriorate quickly.