Your beginner’s guide to portobello mushroom! All about portobello mushrooms including nutrition facts, recipes, seasonality, and a guide for prepping and cleaning.
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Hi, Rhubarbarians! Today, we are taking a deep dive into our favorite mushroom: the portobello mushroom!
We love portobello mushrooms for their earthy flavor, meaty texture, and the wonderful umami flavor they bring to dishes.
In this article you will learn what portobello mushrooms are, when they are in season, nutrition information, how to choose and store them, how to prep and clean them, how to cook and eat them, and lots of portobello mushroom recipes!
What are portobello mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms (also known as portabella mushrooms) are edible mushrooms in the agaricus bisporus (mushroom) family. They are large, fully grown cremini or baby bella mushrooms.
Portobellos have a brown or beige cap that averages about 6 inches in diameter. Under the cap are distinctive dark brown or black gills and a woody stem.
No one quite knows how portobello mushrooms got their name! Some think it translates to "beautiful door" in Italian. Maybe it's named after Portobello road in London. I wish we knew!
What is the difference between cremini mushrooms and portobello mushrooms? Portobello mushrooms are large, mature cremini mushrooms! They are the same species.
Portobello mushrooms are in season from December to March during the cold winter. They are commercially sold in grocery stores year round.
- 1 medium portobello mushroom
Choosing and storing
- How to choose: Look for caps that are 3 inches to 9 inches in diameter. They should be dry, firm, and free of any dark brown spots. The mushrooms will be a beige to light brown in color.
- How to store: Store them in a paper bag in the refrigerator for up to seven days. If they are wrapped in plastic when you purchase them, remove them from the plastic and either store in a paper bag in the refrigerator or wrap them in a paper towel and store them in a tupperware container in the refrigerator.
- How to freeze: Raw portobellos do not freeze well due to their high moisture content. You will need to cook them before freezing. Sautee them or roast them whole until they have released some of their moisture. Then pat them dry and store them in an air tight freezer container for up to one month.
Cleaning and prepping
- Cleaning: Don't wash a portobello mushroom until right before you prep them for eating or cooking. When ready, wash them well under running water, removing all the dirt from the cap and running your fingers through the gills.
- Prepping: Either trim the cap or pop it off completely and pat the mushroom dry.
- Peeling: In some cases, you may want to peel the top layer of the cap! If cooking the mushroom caps whole, we find that peeling creates a better texture for portobello burgers and portobello steaks.
Can I eat portobello mushroom gills? Yep! They are edible. Just make sure you wash them thoroughly to remove any dirt and pat them dry before cooking.
Cooking and eating
Portobello mushrooms have a wonderfully earthy flavor that is often times described as meaty. They taste similar to cremini mushrooms or button mushrooms, but have a richer and more intense umami flavor.
They make a fabulous meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan dishes because of their meaty flavor and thick, dense texture.
There has been some debate about whether or not it is safe to eat raw portobello mushrooms. Due to carcinogenic compounds and hydrazine, it may be safer to cook them before eating. (source)
Here are our favorite ways to prepare portobello mushrooms:
- Whole mushroom caps: These are wonderful as burgers, steaks, or even stuffed!
- Sliced: Perfect for sauteeing mushrooms and serving with pasta, stir fry, or a simple side dish.
- Diced: Adds amazing flavor to soups, casseroles, or added to a mire poix.
Portobello mushroom recipes
If you make any portobello mushroom recipes, please let us know on social media or in the comments below! Leave a star rating in your comment and tag us on Instagram with #Rhubarbarians.
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