The best way to clean fresh mushrooms is to wipe them with a clean, barely damp cloth or paper towel. Washing mushrooms is usually not necessary. If you must rinse them, do it lightly, then dry them immediately—and gently—with paper towels. Never soak fresh mushrooms in water, which will cause them to become soggy. This method works for all mushrooms except morels.
Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each stem and, if desired, cut the mushrooms in half from stem to tip. Rinse in cool water to remove any dirt and insects. If the mushrooms look clean, this may be enough; if not, a short soak in lightly salted water brings out any remaining insects and dirt. If soaking, change the water as needed until the dirt and debris are removed. Rinse the morels well, pat dry, and use in place of other mushrooms in recipes.
For portobello mushrooms, clean as directed above. Gently twist off or cut off the stem of each mushroom. (If desired, reserve the stems to use in your recipe.) Holding a mushroom in one hand, use a spoon to gently scrape out the gills from the underside of the portobello mushroom cap; discard gills. Repeat with remaining mushrooms.
Prepackaged mushrooms should stay in the package. Keep fresh mushrooms in a paper bag or in a damp cloth bag in the refrigerator. This allows them to breathe so they stay firm longer. Avoid storing mushrooms in a plastic bag, which causes them to deteriorate quickly.
How to Keep Mushrooms Fresh:
Clean as directed above. Wrap cleaned mushrooms loosely in damp paper towels or a damp clean cotton cloth, and place the bundle in a bowl. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days, keeping towels damp so the mushrooms don't dry out.
Need ideas for using up your mushrooms now that you know how to clean them and keep them fresh? We have plenty of recipes that celebrate this ingredient: