How To Clean Mushrooms
Whether your mushrooms are wild and growing in dirt or on a tree trunk or cultivated and store-bought, considering how to best keep them free from any debris that will make the eating of them anything but perfectly pleasant is time well spent.
Cleaning mushrooms is a necessity, and the process begins even before they've been harvested. In the forest, a sharp knife and brush and a clean, sturdy-sided container to carry mushrooms in helps keep dirt, clay, sand and debris where it belongs, which is where it came from, and not in your meal. Cultivated mushrooms need a once-over as well. You most likely have all the tools you need in your kitchen already.
Cleaning Chanterelles and Similar Mushrooms
Start cleaning your mushrooms hours before you use them and you'll have clean dry mushrooms when you're ready to cook. You can even do this the day before. Clean chanterelles require just a little brushing, but from some habitats they're dirty and must be washed. Forget all that nonsense about never washing mushrooms because the flavor will wash away. The chanterelle in your hand probably took 1 to 3 weeks to grow and has already gone through plenty of rain baths.
Turn cool to lukewarm water from your faucet to low flow. Hold the mushroom briefly under the the water and brush lightly with a clean brush. Also rinse the dirt from the brush itself under the flowing water. This way you can keep lifting the dirt from the mushroom while minimizing water the mushroom soaks up. Repeat this until clean.
First place the washed mushrooms into a colander to drip, then put these cleaned mushrooms on a towel-lined pan or anything flat with drainage holes.
Put the mushrooms by a fan or a sunny window. The goal here is to be rid of the excess moisture and have nice dry sautéable mushrooms.
If you do any sort of dunk, make sure the plunge is quick and vigorous, not allowing the mushrooms to soak. In the home kitchen, you can also use the sink's handled sprayer for a quick rinse.
Your kitchen potato peeler is ideal for cleaning the base.
Porcini and many other mushrooms can be cleaned with a simple damp cloth. Many mushrooms need no more than a wipe.
Cleaning Black Trumpet, Yellow Feet and hollow varieties
Trim off the dirty bottom tip of the mushroom and then split open the vase-shaped mushroom. Rinse and rub the inside and outside of the mushroom to clean away the forest debris and dirt.
Place the damp, cleaned mushrooms on a towel-lined pan to drain and dry out again.