The delightful flavors of mushrooms make them a valuable adjunct to the vegetarian dietary, whether or not they are classed with meat foods.
No one need to be in ignorance as to the edible ones with the many reliable books now published in regard to all varieties. But if you have not studied the subject, consult some one who is a judge before you use those you have gathered. Or, use only canned ones or those sold in the markets. Many cases of sickness have come from using mushrooms partially decayed, rather than from poisonous varieties; so be sure to reject those not entirely sound.
Mushrooms will not admit of many combinations without losing character. The simplest ways of preparing them are the best. It is a waste of time to peel any of the varieties except the puff ball.
Puff ball mushrooms are all edible when gathered at the white stage.
Overcooking toughens mushrooms. 5-20 minutes is sufficient time for any, except, perhaps, when cooked in a double boiler, then a half hour may not be too long.
When necessary to wash mushrooms, rinse up and down in cold water, rub the caps quickly, shake and drain in a colander. Often they will require rubbing only, with a soft flannel. Always cut off a thin slice from the end of the stalk and throw it away.
When the caps only are to be used in a dish, chop the stems and imperfect caps and cook for soups and sauces. Mushrooms are not expensive, as a few fresh or dried ones go a long way for flavoring. Unless plentiful, do not use mushrooms in timbales or roasts but in the sauces, where they will count. In the recipes, fresh ones are meant unless canned ones are mentioned.