When In The Cooking Process Should You Salt Mushrooms?

Have you given mushrooms the ol' college try and still find that you're not a big fan of the fungi? The problem may not be the mushrooms, but rather the way they have been seasoned or, more importantly, when they were seasoned.

Most people would treat mushrooms like any other vegetable and pair them with meat, such as beef, for dinner. Because of that, it's common to season mushrooms at the beginning of the cooking process. But mushrooms have pores or gills, according to Real Mushrooms, so they are able to soak up any liquids and seasonings you put on them. This means that if you don't clean and dry them properly, they will retain water. If you soak them in a marinade, they can get too soggy. If you put too much salt on them, they can dry out.

More important than regulating how much marinade and seasoning you use, however, is when you use them. So exactly when in the cooking process should you season mushrooms to ensure they are enjoyable?

Don't season mushrooms too early

According to Bon Appétit, you should season your mushrooms after they're cooked. If you salt them before cooking, they will lose moisture and you will essentially end up steaming them in the pan. This will make them soggy and slimy in texture, so you should wait until you have fully cooked the 'shrooms and allowed them some time to cool before seasoning them for the best results on your mushroom dish

How do you know when your mushrooms are cooked? Gro Cycle says that fresh mushrooms should cook in about 10 minutes and you should hear them sizzle as they cook. If you don't hear the sizzle, then the mushrooms are losing moisture and they will steam. Do not stir them too often because that doesn't allow them enough time to turn a nice golden brown color. Over-stirring increases the chance that you will over-cook them to achieve that brown color.

Variations in seasoning shrooms

Once the mushrooms are cooked, add your favorite seasoning. Of course, there are different ways to cook mushrooms. According to the Mushroom Council, the way you cook your mushrooms can impact their flavor just as much as how and when you season them. For example, searing mushrooms gives them a smoky flavor, but roasting mushrooms gives them a more nutty or buttery flavor. It can also give them a sweet taste, particularly if you use something like cinnamon to season them. If you want to avoid salt, you can add herbs, such as cilantro, basil, and parsley to the pan as you cook the mushrooms to give them a more subtle flavor.

So now that you know a bit more about how — and when — to season mushrooms, are you ready to give them another try? There are many recipes out there that can help you learn to love these powerful little fungi, including this Ahi Tuna and Mushroom bake.