New research says the healthiest way to cook mushrooms is to microwave them. We explain how to preserve their goodness while making them taste great.
If you’ve ever cooked mushrooms, whether frying, baking or boiling, you’ll know that they start off looking dry and then produce more liquid than you’d anticipated, which means that despite their appearance they are very juicy. This makes them ideal for microwaving as you don’t have to add a single extra ingredient if you don’t want to. Do make sure you eat the juices as well to get the maximum amount of nutrients.
Why it's good to microwave mushrooms
New research by the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition looked at certain mushroom types (namely white button, shiitake, oyster and king oyster mushrooms) along with different cooking methods and found that when mushrooms are exposed to short cooking times they retain more of their vitamins and nutrients.
What's the best type of mushroom to microwave?
Different mushroom varieties do not respond in the same way when they are cooked. Chanterelles, for example, taste better when fried and oyster mushrooms can end up leathery if they are cooked for too long.
Microwaving mushrooms won’t enhance the flavour but will concentrate it. The mushrooms will simply taste of cooked mushroom as you are not caramelising any juices. You can, however, add flavour by smearing mushrooms with garlic butter, coating them in olive oil (with a sprig of thyme), or using a few drops of soy sauce.
Different methods for microwaving mushrooms
1. Sliced: Slice as many mushrooms as you want into a bowl, cover tightly and then cook for two to three minutes, stirring the slices once. If the slices are still not quite tender enough cook them further in 30 second bursts until they're as you like them.
2. Button mushroom: Put whole, trimmed button mushrooms in a shallow bowl in a single layer, ribbed side up, and microwave for two to three minutes. Keep on cooking in 30 second bursts if you need to.
3. Portobello or field mushrooms: To grill a whole Portobello mushroom for a burger, put it rib side up in a shallow bowl and cover tightly. Microwave for two minutes and then take off the cover. Cook for another two to three minutes depending on the size of the mushroom, or until the mushroom is tender and any liquid collected in the cup has evaporated.