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What do fresh button mushrooms taste like?

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Sweet?

Salty?

Bitter?

Some combo of all three? Something else entirely?

I ask because I generally do not eat button mushrooms (fresh, or canned), and can't really recall what they *should* taste like. (FWIW, I eat and enjoy just about all other 'shrooms.)

But today I had some fresh button mushrooms that tasted like diluted licorice with hints of iodine solution.

Yuck. Just yuck.

So, what should fresh button mushrooms taste like?

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  1. Well, I'd say that's a fair description of what they taste like, in the sense that cilantro tastes like soap. Which is to say it's a function of how your tasting sensors are tuned. I'm kind of on the line with both cilantro and mushrooms: there's something a little wrong about how both of those taste, just enough to hint at nastiness in an enticing kind of way, so I respond by loving them. Crank up the volume, and I'd have your reaction.

    Hey, we all don't like something most people like. I'll just eat your share!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      Ok, so maybe it's a genetic defect on my part, but what *do* they taste like to those who do like the taste of fresh button mushrooms?

      1. re: ipsedixit

        I like them. Raw, they taste vaguely woodsy with hints of earthiness. There's also a touch of musty cellar funk.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Fresh button mushrooms. Shroomy, fresh, slightly nutty, with hints of pepper. I love them raw, shaved thinly over salads or as a carpaccio.

          They're not my favorite for sautéing cause there's so much shrinkage, but I do like them on pizza. Awesome with fresh rosemary and a few drops of good olive oil.

      2. I think they taste like what I cook them in - mostly butter. For me, it's just a texture. Oh, wait, salad. I still think it's just texture.

        1. They taste like mushrooms. Not that different than any others. Now attack me.:-)

          1. Like mushrooms? Dry, a little earthy, nothing like canned mushrooms, which I find slimy and tinny. Fresh button mushrooms tend to have a subtle taste, there but not forward. I've never had any that tasted of iodine.

            1. They taste like mushrooms.

              Just kiddin' .... Sorta. Raw, they taste a little earthly, a little dirty, but really don't have much flavor. I don't like them raw and I think they ruin a good salad or pizza when people use them raw. They don't add any real flavor IMO, they just add a little dirt when raw.

              Once sautéed in any oil, they taste more like most other mild mushrooms with their "shroomy -ness". I really like older buttons sautéed well in butter and generously sprinkled with salt and pepper. The gills in the older ones have the shroom flavor.

              4 Replies
              1. re: sedimental

                I agree. They are bad raw.

                1. re: sandylc

                  +1. Not a fan of the texture of raw mushrooms. Marinated mushrooms might even be worse. I like them cooked, though.

                2. re: sedimental

                  Like everything, they favor a lot in flavor. Bad/boring/stored in plastic at Vons versions tend to taste like nothing really. Fresher versions or ones purchased at the farmer's markets tend to taste a little earthy/dirty/mossy when raw.

                  The flavor is more pronounced when cooked, easpecially if you include the gills. They also tend to amplify and carry the taste of fats and other flavorings. Cooking them carefully (large pan, plenty of space, not turning until well browned) plus the addition of copious amounts of fat and maybe another umami source (soy sauce, maggi) is transformative.

                  I like all mushrooms, raw and cooked, but despise them canned.

                  Brown button/"baby portobellos"/crimini have a similiar slightly more pronounced flavor.

                  1. re: sedimental

                    I double agree, I hate white mushrooms raw but will eat nearly any mushroom cooked.

                  2. Fresh raw ones, like others have mentioned, don't taste like much of anything to me.

                    1. By "fresh", do you mean raw?
                      I don't enjoy raw mushrooms. The texture is weird and 'polystyrene-y'.
                      I looove them cooked though.
                      I don't think I've ever eaten canned.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pippimac

                        They taste like the soil they were grown in....sort of. They are basically 'flavor sponges' which makes them so versatile.

                      2. Truthfully, they're little flavor sponges more than anything else. But eaten on their own, to me they taste slightly woody. I love them for their silky texture as much as anything, though.

                        1. Their texture and outer slime somehow reminds me of escargot, especially when prepared with butter and garlic.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Veggo

                            I bet you packaging peanuts would remind you of escargot if enough butter and garlic were used.

                          2. Earthy. But not as earthy as big field mushrooms. These are for fresh - I've no idea what canned ones are like but I guess "slimy" might be a good description.

                            I love them cooked or raw (the latter either on salads or sandwiches or, as a snack, dunked in mayo)