How To Clean Mushrooms, According To Geoffrey Zakarian

When it comes to using mushrooms to flavor your homemade dishes, it can be hard to know what to do in terms of cleaning them effectively. You'll find tons of information out there on the various techniques and methods different kitchen connoisseurs use to ensure their mushrooms are free of dirt and bruises before cooking with them. Some may give them a quick trim and rinse before tossing them onto a frying pan, and others may opt to use the flour method to save time. There's even a special cooking tool, the mushroom brush, that is specially designed to clean the delicate fungi as gently as possible to avoid breaking the fibers.

Geoffrey Zakarian, executive chef and restaurant owner with over 30 years of experience in the culinary world, offers his simple tips on how to clean mushrooms quickly and without letting any parts go to waste. The accomplished Michelin-star chef posted a quick Instagram video showing his process as he handled a batch of chanterelle mushrooms while doing a bit of meal prep.

Scrape the mushroom stems to clean them up

In the Instagram video, Geoffrey Zakarian has his chanterelle mushrooms and other ingredients laid out in a tray, giving him space to set them aside after individually cleaning them. Picking one up carefully, he explains how he uses a paring knife to get the job done. In a close-up demonstration, he explains that you should hold the knife so the opposite side of the blade is doing the work instead of the sharp edge. Using the "bottom of the knife", the chef carefully and precisely scrapes at the stem of the mushroom while rotating it until all of the stem's outer layer of flesh is carved off.

If you prepare dishes with mushrooms frequently, then you know how some might have overly woody, dry stems that are definitely not something you want to crunch on once dinner is ready. But even the stems that you scrape away using Zakarian's method can still be used for another tasty purpose. After cleaning the mushroom fully, he sets the removed pieces of stem aside and says, "Save this because we're going to put it in the chicken stock" to flavor it. This way you can save all parts of your mushrooms to infuse each bite of your dish with rich flavors.