How to Clean and Store Mushrooms

Use these tips to add earthy richness to your favorite dishes.

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Mushroom Essentials

The first step to working with mushrooms is to buy good ones. What to look for depends on which kind of mushrooms you're buying.


For white mushrooms, or cremini, make sure they are firm, plump and clean. The cap should be attached to the stem.


Give portobello mushrooms a sniff. They should smell like the earth and have fresh-looking gills.


Shiitake mushrooms should have smooth, firm caps and should be tender, not dry, but not slimy.

Cleaning 101

All mushrooms absorb water like sponges. Only rinse them if they're going into a salad or soup. If you're pan-frying, just rub them down with a damp paper towel or brush them with a pastry brush.

The Gills

Portobello gills are edible, but will add a dark brown color to your dish. To avoid it, just scrape the gills out with a teaspoon.

Storage Secret

The secret to mushroom storage is that they stay fresh longer if you take them out of their container. Wrap them in paper towels placed in open plastic bags (paper bags are even better) and keep them in the fridge.