Mushrooms are like sponges, and chanterelle mushrooms are no exception. For this reason, some people recommend that you shouldn’t wash your chanterelles before cooking, as they will absorb some of the wash water. But if you’ve ever seen a fresh-picked chanterelle speckled with dirt and sand, you’ll understand the importance of cleaning these mushrooms. Let’s discuss how to clean chanterelle mushrooms without allowing them to soak up too much water.
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How Do You Clean Dirty Chanterelles?
If you’re harvesting your own chanterelles, chances are they will be covered in dirt and debris from the forest floor. If it rained recently, they may even be covered in mud.
Of course, you won’t want all the mud, gravel, twigs, and dead grass going down your drain when you wash the mushrooms. So you’ll need to clean the dirty mushrooms before bringing them into your kitchen.
To clean your mushrooms without damaging them, follow these steps:
- Remove any large or loose debris from your basket of chanterelles. Be careful not to poke or bruise the mushrooms when removing rocks or sticks.
- Take each mushroom one at a time and gently rub away the dirt and mud with your fingers, a cloth, or a toothbrush. Again, be careful not to damage the mushrooms, as they can bruise easily if you rub too hard.
- If there is a lot of sand or dirt in the basket, move your mushrooms to a different basket before taking them inside.
- If the mushrooms are especially dirty, you might want to give them a quick pre-wash outside using a garden hose. Don’t soak the mushrooms in water, simply spray them down to remove the worst of the dirt and debris.
- Bring the chanterelles inside and wash them in your kitchen, as discussed in the following section.
How Do You Wash Chanterelles?
Most of the time, your chanterelles will be clean enough to bring straight into your kitchen, without pre-cleaning them. That said, you’ll still want to wash them before cooking and eating, even if they don’t look dirty.
If your mushrooms are already fairly clean, or if you’ve pre-cleaned them outside, follow these steps to wash them up inside:
- Take each mushroom individually and run it under cold water. You may want to use a toothbrush to remove bits of dirt or sand from the groves.
- Place the mushrooms in a colander and shake gently to remove some of the excess water. Alternatively, place the mushrooms on layers of paper towel, allowing it to absorb some of the rinse water.
- If you don’t want to rinse each mushroom individually, you can use the soak method instead. Place all of the mushrooms in a bowl, fill it with water, and use a toothbrush to gently scrub each mushroom as it soaks.
Swish the mushrooms quickly in the water, or dunk each one in a bowl of clean water before removing to the colander or paper towel.
- If you want, allow your mushrooms to dry in the sun for a few hours, then repeat the rinsing or soaking process to make sure all of the dirt has been removed. Some people recommend letting them dry for a full day before re-washing, but this isn’t necessary if you’re planning to eat them right away.
- Once all the dirt, sand, and debris has been washed away, the mushrooms are ready to be cooked and eaten!
Check out the following video for a great visual of the process. The man in the video uses a slightly different set of steps, but the overall process is the same.
Remember, the most important thing about washing chanterelle mushrooms is to get them clean!
Can You Eat the Stems of Chanterelle Mushrooms?
Yes, chanterelle mushroom stems are edible. However, some mushroom experts note that they are more fibrous than the caps, and they can be woody when cooked, so it is best to discard larger or thicker stems.
There may be a lot of dirt stuck on the stems, so be sure to clean them thoroughly if you plan to eat them. Before cooking, cut off the root end of each stem and, if it feels tough to cut into, keep removing up the stem until you reach a point where it feels soft.
Chanterelles are often covered in dirt, gravel, and other bits of debris when you harvest them from the wild, but you have to be careful how you clean them.
Whether you rinse or soak them, try to clean them as quickly as possible so they don’t absorb too much water, then allow them to drain and dry on a paper towel.