How to Wash Oyster Mushrooms

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Oyster mushrooms are fragile and require delicate cleaning.
Oyster mushrooms are fragile and require delicate cleaning. (Image: three clumps of yellow oyster mushrooms image by TMLP from Fotolia.com)

Common in Asian cuisines, oyster mushrooms imbue dishes with an earthy flavor and a meaty texture. Oyster mushrooms can be stuffed, grilled, roasted or used in sauce or stir fry. Whether they were collected in the wild or purchased from a commercial supplier, oyster mushrooms will typically have dirt that needs to be cleaned. Cleaning is a delicate process, as you do not want to water-log the mushrooms or damage their gills. Wiping the mushrooms clean one by one is the preferred method; however, for large quantities when this is not practical, a rinsing method can be used.

Things You'll Need

  • For small quantities:
  • Knife
  • Lint-free towel
  • Mushroom brush
  • Toothpick
  • For large quantities:
  • Knife
  • Strainer
  • Paper towels
  • Toothpick

Small Quantities

Cut off the base of mushroom clusters, using a sharp knife. Separate the individual mushrooms. Cut off any parts of stems that are not tender.

Wipe the mushrooms gently with a clean, slightly moistened towel. Use a lint-free towel to ensure no fibers stick to the mushroom. Alternatively, a mushroom brush can be used, which is designed to avoid damaging the fragile skin of mushrooms.

Inspect the gills for any insects or debris. Extract any elements from between the gills using a toothpick.

Large Quantities

Cut off the base of mushroom clusters, using a sharp knife. Separate the individual mushrooms. Cut off any parts of stems that are not tender.

Place the mushrooms in a strainer. Handle the mushrooms with care, as they are fragile.

Rinse the mushrooms fairly quickly under a gentle spray of water. Do not allow the mushrooms to become overly soaked.

Pat the mushrooms dry with paper towels. Inspect the gills for insects or debris as you dry the mushrooms. Extract any elements from between the gills using a toothpick.

Lay the mushrooms out to air dry for at least 30 minutes. Place them with their gills facing down so any trapped water can drain.

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