When people describe the taste of Crimini mushrooms as something right in between a white button mushroom and a portobello mushroom, they couldn’t have been more correct. Crimini mushrooms are white button mushrooms AND portobello mushrooms. In fact, these three popular mushroom types are one and the same. White button mushrooms are Agaricus bisporus in their youngest edible stage, Crimini mushrooms are right in the middle, and portobello at their most mature stage. As for their taste, they’re a bit stronger and fuller than white button mushrooms, but not as fully deep as portobello mushrooms, as they say, not too mild, not too strong, just right.
Crimini Mushroom Trivia
- Crimini mushrooms are also known as baby Bella or baby portobello mushrooms because they’re basically baby portobello mushrooms.
- Crimini mushrooms are saprotrophs, this means that they feed on dead and dying material.
- Unless you know exactly how to identify them, do not attempt to harvest Crimini mushrooms as they have a look-alike, the deadly Amanita mushroom. Their differences are minor so it’s very easy to mistake one for the other.
- While not as famous as the reishi or maitake mushrooms, Crimini mushrooms have some of the same medicinal qualities as these other mushrooms.
- Crimini mushrooms contain small amounts of toxins that are neutralized by heat so always cook your mushrooms.
Crimini Mushroom Buying Guide
Crimini mushrooms are some of the most common mushrooms you can find in many supermarkets today. To ensure that you’re getting the freshest Crimini mushrooms here are some things to look out for:
- Check under the mushroom cap. If the gills are covered with a thin mushroom “veil” then that’s a good indication that the mushroom is as fresh as can be. If the veil under the cap is not present then chances are is that the Crimini is no longer fresh.
- Press the caps of the mushrooms, they should feel firm and dry. If they’re squishy and wet then that’s a sign that they’re on their way to being bad.
- Avoid Crimini mushrooms with major blemishes and try and pick ones with smooth surfaces.
If a recipe calls for Crimini mushrooms and you can’t find any, you can substitute either white button mushrooms or portobello mushrooms. If you prefer a lighter, more delicate flavor, go with the white button mushrooms. If you prefer a stronger more robust mushroom flavor, go with the portobello mushrooms.
Crimini Mushroom Production & Farming in Texas
Small-scale mushroom production is very popular in Texas due to multiple factors. These factors include the high demand, ease of growing mushrooms, and the premium that many mushrooms fetch. Not only that, mushroom production does not require a full-time commitment like other artisan food production. It only takes an hour or two every day to make sure that the production is going well and people can go about their normal lives without spending too much time on the mushrooms.
Almost every farmers’ market will have fresh and locally grown Crimini mushrooms due to the popularity of mushroom growing in Texas. You can also check out our listings here at TRF to check if there are any producers near.
Many local restaurants in Texas also source their Crimini mushrooms direct from the producers since mushrooms are best when they are really fresh (unless, of course, their recipes call for dried mushrooms to increase the flavor.)
Since Crimini mushrooms are some of the most popular mushroom varieties around, it is not uncommon to see them in different types of packaging. They can be in biodegradable or plastic clamshells or packed in plastic clamshells and covered with a breathable cling film to preserve freshness.
Enjoying Crimini Mushrooms
Crimini mushrooms, while more “neutral” in taste than oyster mushrooms, have a much bolder flavor that white button mushrooms. This makes them great for omelets, vegetable stir-fries, and gravies. In fact, it’s our mushroom of choice for making gravies and mushroom-based pan-sauces.
Crimini mushrooms can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Just make sure to stick them in a breathable container like a brown paper bag or a slightly open plastic container. Don’t wrap them in cling film as this might lead to the mushrooms spoiling prematurely.
To freeze Crimini mushrooms, cook them first by sautéing in garlic and butter so that the freezing process doesn’t destroy the texture.
Our Favorite Crimini Mushroom Gravy:
Need a meaty gravy for your dish or roast? Or something that you can whip up for those who can’t eat without gravy? (Ask my 5-year-old, he won’t eat certain dishes without gravy!) Then this is the recipe for you. It takes just a few ingredients and about 10 minutes of cooking time. You can also freeze the gravy and reheat when needed!
Sliced Fresh Crimini Mushrooms, 8 ounces
Olive Oil, 1 tablespoon
Minced Garlic, 2 cloves
Minced Shallot, 1 medium
Unsalted Butter, 3 tablespoons (you can use salted, but I prefer unsalted so I can control the salt levels)
Minced Sage Leaves, 2 pieces
Dried Thyme, 1 teaspoon
Flour ¼ cup
Stock, 3 cups (Chicken, Beef, or Vegetable)
Soy Sauce, 1 tablespoon
Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon
In a pan, brown the mushrooms in a little bit of oil and set aside.
Add the oil, butter, and flour to make a roux. For a lighter gravy, cook the roux until a light blond color and for a darker gravy, keep cooking the roux until golden. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and shallots and continue mixing for 15 seconds.
Slowly add the stock, keep on stirring until all of the stock has been added. Bring to a simmer and add the rest of the herbs.
Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.