Mushrooms are a type of fungus and can be cultivated or wild. The most common type of mushrooms are field mushrooms these are also called button and large flat, the button being a younger flat mushroom. Swiss browns are also commonly available in Australia. The more mature Swiss brown is called a Portobello. Most of the Asian mushrooms are not grown in large commercial quantities in Australia. These included shiitake, oyster, king brown, shimeji and enoki. Truffles are the most expensive and prized mushroom and are grown in Australia in Tasmania, the Southern Highlands and parts of Victoria.
Selection and storage
Avoid withered, slimy, pitted, or bruised mushrooms. For cooking whole, choose smaller mushrooms. For slicing or chopping, medium-sized varieties work best. For stuffing or barbequing, choose those with large caps. Store mushrooms in a paper bag in the refrigerator.
Mushrooms are mostly grown inside and as a result quality is consistent all year round. However, mushrooms donâ€™t like the heat so quality can be diminished in summer.
To clean mushrooms, simply brush off any dirt with a soft brush or a damp paper towel. If you must wash them, rinse only very briefly under running water and dry quickly on a paper towel. Mushrooms absorb water easily and should never be soaked for cleaning. Mushrooms can be fried, stuffed and roasted or braised. Mushrooms are good with cheese, butter, beef, onions, cream and bacon.
Most mushrooms are good sources of B vitamins, potassium and selenium (an antioxidant). All mushrooms are a good source of fibre.