My goal over the last year has been to reduce the amount of waste that comes out of my home. That means wasting less food and buying fewer items that come in any kind of packaging. When I can, I buy things in no packaging, but when that is not possible I buy either compostable packaging or reusable packaging (glass jars). Sometimes its unavoidable, of course, but I am trying. I also buy local and organic whenever possible.

I often come across recipes that call for a can of something. In the case today, it wants sliced mushrooms. Now, I know that if I am substituting fresh for canned, the mushrooms require a bit of preparation before I can add them, or else the texture will be off because the mushrooms need longer to cook. I have a little knowledge of the canning process, but I don't have the storage space in my small, city apartment so I try to do everything on an as-needed basis. I've never done it, but I know the canning process would be: wash and slice, cover with water in saucepan, boil for 5 minutes, transfer hot mushrooms to a jar, add 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/8 tsp of ascorbic acid powder per pint and add fresh, hot water and then carry on with the canning process.

So because I am not preserving the mushrooms and am going to use them right away, I will obviously leave out the ascorbic acid, but should I leave out salt as well or should I reduce it? And will this same rule apply to other vegetables as well?

  • I think you should state what recipe you are making. It seems like you must be grossly overthinking this. Feb 19, 2018 at 23:38

1 Answer 1


Consider looking at the situation from a different perspective. Canned mushrooms are an inferior substitute for fresh mushrooms. Whatever benefit they add to the recipe, would likely be improved by using fresh mushrooms.

Instead of attempting to pre-process your fresh mushrooms to make them more like canned mushrooms, why not simply adjust your recipe to use the fresh mushrooms directly?

Without the details of your recipe, it's impossible to know exactly what adjustments are needed — though, you might very well be able to substitute fresh mushrooms directly, with no pre-processing other than washing and slicing them.

Keep in mind the following:

  • Mushrooms cook very quickly. For example, if you are adding them to other sautéed vegetables, add them when the other vegetables are nearly cooked.
  • Fresh mushrooms contain a lot of moisture, which is released as they cook. This will add flavor to a sauce, but you may need to lengthen the reduction time.
  • Mushrooms can be eaten raw, though many people prefer them cooked. The longer you cook them, the more the texture changes. Cooked just until tender, mushrooms will be succulent and juicy, with lots of mushroom flavor. When cooked past that point, the mushroom juices are released and the mushrooms will absorb flavors from their companion ingredients.

Your proposal of boiling the mushrooms would just boil away the most of the mushroom flavor. Canned mushrooms add lots of salt, partly as a preservative, but also because the mushrooms are quite tasteless. Changing your recipe to take advantage of having fresh mushrooms will make it healthier and more delicious.

  • 1
    This is true for button mushroom, there are lots more, which improve being cooked, or even become safe or edible, Lactarius resimus for example is extremely bitter when raw, you have to boil no less than couple of hours. Feb 17, 2016 at 2:14

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