Fresh mushrooms may be in season from the spring throughout the summer, but are most abundant in August. Those grown in the open air in meadows and shaded glens have the best flavor. They should not be used if they are over-ripe, if they have been attacked by slugs, if they have a disagreeable smell and taste, if they have a tough consistency, if they have been grown in dirty places, or if they soften easily. They are gathered and packed loosely in boxes or baskets for market. They are sometimes dried for storing but more frequently they are preserved by canning. They should always be perfectly fresh for use. The price of mushrooms varies greatly with the season and variety.

Both the stem and the expanded top of the mushroom are used for food, but the stem is likely to be tough and is often only used for seasoning. Mushrooms are never eaten raw. They are cooked to soften them and to develop flavor. Before cooking they should be soaked in cold water to draw out the insects, then washed in cold water, the earthy stem cut off, and the skin peeled from the top of the cap. They may be broiled, sauted, baked, and boiled. They are used alone or as a seasoning for sauces, soups, and other dishes.

The best flavor is developed if the mushrooms are first cooked in butter. The baked mushrooms are especially nice if covered with a glass bell so that none of the steam and flavors are lost.

Mushrooms are usually served with a rich sauce and are generally accompanied by toast or some other carbohydrate food.

Mushrooms do not have a high food value but are prized for their flavor.

To Prepare Fresh Mushrooms for Cooking

Scrape the stems, cut off the ends. Peel the caps of the mushrooms. Wash them in salted water to remove the insects from the gills. Soak a few minutes in fresh cold water.

How To Prepare Canned Mushrooms

Pour the liquid from the mushrooms and put them in boiling water. Boil 3 minutes and drain.

Stewed Mushrooms

1/2 pound mushrooms 3 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon flour

Cook mushrooms in hot butter

1/4 teaspoon salt


1/2 cup water or stock

2 minutes, sprinkle with the

salt, pepper, and flour, and add 1/2 cup hot water or stock. Cook slowly 5 minutes. Serve on toast. Serves 6.

Creamed Mushrooms

1/2 pound mushrooms

2 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons butter 1/4 teaspoon salt


3/4 cup cream

Nutmeg grating

Prepare as stewed mushrooms. Serve on toast. Serves 6.