Eating Real. Eating Locally.

This video really hits home for me. It is amazing to see how much food is imported into Canada, even though we grow/farm those products right here.

One thing is for sure, Canadian mushrooms are grown fresh every day here in Canada. There is no seasonality, they are grown and picked 365 days a year.

One way to be sure you are purchasing Canadian mushrooms is to check the label or the bulk box to make sure that it says “Product of Canada.”

If you cannot find Canadian products, ask! The most powerful thing you can do is request your grocery store buys local products. This movement starts with you!

So, eat real, eat local.

posted by Brittany

The Dirt on Mushrooms

The process of growing mushrooms has mystified people for years, leading to the misconception that mushrooms grow in straight manure. This belief has cause people to clean mushrooms in very unusual ways. From peeling to scrapping out the gills, people will try almost anything to get that dirt off the mushrooms.

Not very often is the question asked, what exactly are those specs of dirt on the mushrooms?

That dirt is most often sterilized peat moss. All Canadian mushroom growers use peat moss as the ‘casing layer’ on the top of the mushroom beds. Mushrooms are grown in beds in large growing rooms. The beds are made of wood, steel or aluminum. Before each crop is planted, the rooms and beds are sterilized at 160°F (71°C) for 24 hours, this ensures they will start with clean equipment.

The beds are then filled with a growth medium called substrate, which supplies carbon and nitrogen nutrients. The substrate is pasteurized at 136°F (58°C) for 8 hours before the mushroom ‘spawn’ are mixed into it. Spawn is mushroom mycelia attached to sterile grain, such as millet or rye. It is the seedstock of mushrooms. Spawn is delivered to the grower, in sealed bags from sterile laboratories that specialize in mushroom mycelia genetics.

In the beds, the substrate layer is about 8 inches (20 cm) thick. Two inches (5 cm) of peat moss is spread over the substrate to supply moisture. This is called the ‘casing layer’. The mushroom mycelia permeate throughout the substrate and grow up through the casing layer. By controlling the temperature, humidity, oxygen and CO2, the grower stimulates the mycelia to form mushrooms on the surface of the peat moss. The whole process from spawning to harvest takes about 14 days.

So what should you do to remove the specs of dirt? Simply give the mushrooms a quick rinse under cold running water and pat dry just before you enjoy them!

posted by Brittany

Mushroom Quick Facts

Portabella Mushrooms are nutritiousDo you love mushrooms? They are flavourful, easy to prepare and versatile, but how much do you really know about them? Test you mushroom knowledge and see how many of these quick facts you know.

  • One Portabella mushroom has as much potassium as a small banana.
  • Fresh mushrooms are the only vegetable that contain Vitamin D naturally.
  • Mushrooms are not a seasonal item, they are grown year round right here in Canada.
  • Mushrooms are good for you! They are loaded with B vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants selenium & ergothioneine.
  • Always store fresh mushrooms in a brown paper bag in the fridge.
  • Recent research shows that white button mushrooms may help to prevent breast and prostate cancers.

– Brittany

Provencal Poached Salmon Dinner

Questions from You: Morel Mushrooms

Q: “I’ve been lucky enough to get some morel mushrooms! Aside from sauteing them in butter, do you have any recipes for preparing them?”

A: We currently do not have any recipes that are specific to morel mushrooms, but what is great about the recipes in the Mushrooms Canada Recipe Library is that most of them call for just “fresh mushrooms.” This means that you can use any variety of fresh mushroom you happen to have on hand; including morels!

The beauty of cooking with fresh mushrooms is that you can use whatever variety you like in a recipe. By switching up the type, your meals take on a different flavour and texture profile, making it taste new each time you prepare it.

Here are a few recipes I would suggest trying with fresh morel mushrooms:
Easy Mushroom Ravioli with Four Cheese Sauce
French Mushroom Duxelles
Provencal Poached Salmon Dinner (include your morels in a mixture of white and criminis)


– Brittany

Feature Friday: Freezing Fresh Mushrooms

One of the most common questions I receive on a daily basis here at Mushrooms Canada is “how do I freeze fresh mushrooms?”

I say, great question! People who prefer to buy fresh mushrooms in bulk, or when they are on sale, often need a way to preserve the mushrooms, as their self life in the refrigerator is only about 5-6 days (if kept in a brown paper bag).

Freezing fresh mushrooms is a great way to keep large quantities and a way to have Canadian mushrooms readily available in your home.

Fresh mushrooms cannot be frozen without being cooked first as they are made up of over 90% water. Here are some tips, pros and cons to freezing fresh mushrooms.

Sautéing and Freezing Fresh Mushrooms
This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to freeze fresh mushrooms. To start, simply rinse the mushrooms in a colander under cool running water to remove any particles of peat moss. Do not soak the mushrooms as they will absorb water and increase the risk of getting freezer burnt. Pat them dry immediately with paper towels.
Slice or chop the fresh mushrooms, or if using pre-sliced mushrooms – you are one step ahead. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil (per 8oz of mushrooms) in a fry pan over medium high heat. Add mushroom to hot pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until mushrooms are brown and tender. If you wish to have flavoured mushrooms you may also sauté with garlic, onions, and/or spices.
Allow mushrooms to cool, then transfer to a small freezer container. Pushing the mushrooms to the bottom of the container and sticking a small piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the mushrooms will help prevent freezer burn, making sure the lid is on tight will also help to prevent freezer burn. Be sure to label the containers with the date. They can be kept for approximately 2-3 months.

When ready to use your frozen mushrooms simply pop them out of the container and drop the frozen block into the frying pan. Add ½ tbsp of oil and sauté until mushrooms are warm. There is no need to pre-thaw the mushrooms. If using in a recipe, sauté mushrooms until warm, then add other ingredients.

– The is the best method to use when you want to maintain the taste and texture of a fresh sauté.

– If the mushrooms are not packed tight into the container, air will start to cause freezer burn.
– Freezer burn can slightly alter the taste and texture of the mushrooms.

Recipes you could use frozen fresh mushrooms in:
Creamy Mushroom Lasagna with Three Cheeses
Provencal Poached Salmon Dinner
Rustic Salmon Quiche

For more information on the many ways to prepare fresh mushrooms visit the Serve & Enjoy page on the Mushrooms Canada website.

– Brittany