Baby Bella, Cremini, or Brown Mushrooms
How To Select Baby Bella Mushrooms
- Look for mushrooms that are dry, firm, and smooth throughout, avoiding any that are soft or slimy.
- Younger mushrooms have compact closed caps, while more mature ones have open caps that reveal the gills underneath. Older mushrooms are more flavorful but may also become slimier when cooked.
When are Baby Bella, Cremini, and Brown Mushrooms in Season?
The peak seasons for baby bella, cremini, and brown mushrooms are fall and winter. These varieties grow best in damp, frosty, and cool weather.
However, many mushrooms are cultivated indoors, meaning you can find most varieties year-round — great news for all of us brown mushroom lovers!
Varieties of Baby Bella, Cremini, and Brown Mushrooms
There are so many varieties of brown mushrooms that it’s impossible to list them all, but we can talk about the most popular and our favorites!
Button mushrooms are extremely common in the US, and they are closely related to portobello and cremini mushrooms. They make a delicious side dish when sautéed!
Crimini mushrooms are a more mature version of button mushrooms. They are browner and firmer, making them great for stews and soups, as they maintain their texture when cooked.
Portobello mushrooms are even older versions of button mushrooms. Their large size makes them perfect for pasta sauces, omelets, pizzas, sandwiches, and more!
Maitake mushrooms are a variety common in Japan and China. They grow around oak trees and are often used as a meat substitute in ramen, pizza, and other meals.
Morel mushrooms are popular in French cuisine. However, they are difficult to find and expensive. These mushrooms have a nutty flavor and firm texture that even people who aren’t huge fans love.
Shiitake mushrooms are a staple of Asian cuisine, with their long stems and dark, umbrella-like cap. They are delicious with fried rice and ramen.
Hedgehog mushrooms have an orange cap and fruity order. They’re slightly sweet and taste amazing when cooked in butter and sage.
Baby Bella, Cremini, and Brown Mushroom Nutrition Facts & Benefits
Five raw baby bella or cremini mushrooms contain about:
- 20 calories
- 0 grams of fat
- 2 grams of protein
- 4 grams of carbohydrates
- 1 gram of natural sugar
- 1 gram of fiber
A few of the benefits of eating baby bella, cremini, and brown mushrooms include:
- Boosting heart health and improving cholesterol, thanks to its beta-glucan content
- Keeping your red blood cells healthy with its high copper content
- Helping your nerve and muscle function with as much potassium as a banana (about ⅔ cup of cooked mushrooms)
- Getting your daily dose of B vitamins, including niacin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid
How To Store Baby Bella Mushrooms
- Store your mushrooms in the refrigerator for best results. They should last up to a week.
- If your mushrooms were pre-packaged, leave them in their packaging: it’s designed specifically to keep them fresh. You may also store mushrooms in a brown paper bag. Mushrooms need to be able to breathe. Avoid storing your mushrooms in any kind of plastic bag.
- Don’t freeze fresh mushrooms – it destroys their texture! Instead, cook them first, package them, and freeze them.
How to Prepare Baby Bella, Cremini, and Brown Mushrooms
Luckily, baby bella, cremini, and brown mushrooms are extremely versatile. You can prepare them in many ways, and they pair well with tons of ingredients.
For example, you can eat them raw, sauté them, grill them, or roast them. They’re great in salads, soups, wraps, sandwiches, casseroles, and almost any Italian dish. Mushrooms can be a side dish or part of the main course.
Some of our favorite ways to cook with these mushrooms include:
- Marinating and grilling baby bella mushrooms on skewers
- Stuffing cremini mushroom caps with spinach and cheese
- Making mushroom risotto — you can easily make it dairy- and gluten-free!
- Roasting mushrooms with cauliflower and tomatoes for the perfect side dish
If you don’t eat mushrooms often, now is the perfect time to explore baby bella, crimini, and brown mushrooms. Try them in different styles and recipes to add a blast of flavor and nutrients to your meals!