Asked by Sonny Bernhard in Food & CookingFood SafetyMushrooms
Do you need to wash mushrooms before eating them?
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November 07, 2019 8:49PM
It depends. Cultivated mushrooms can be brushed off with a dry or damp cloth and be completely fine. Wild mushrooms, on the other hand, often require a more thorough cleaning, and generally should be washed. Either way, there’s no harm in rinsing them.
Mushrooms are very absorbent, so the long-held wisdom has been if you wash them, they'll soak up all that water and lose their flavor. However, several informal studies have disproven that, so rinsing your mushrooms is probably not going to ruin any recipes, especially if you rinse them before you cut them up and dry them in a salad spinner.
One scenario in which you’d want to avoid rinsing your mushrooms, though, is if you're serving them raw. The water can cause some discoloration—nothing to worry about, except that it’s not exactly pretty. Cook’s Illustrated recommends brushing them with a dry toothbrush.