Confession: For years I have been the person who has pulled off the stem of every portabella mushroom I buy. I would constantly cringe at the thought of paying for something that I was going to throw away anyway. Each time had to purchase the mushrooms, I would sneakily hover over the bulk mushroom section and pull the stems off of each mushroom hiding it behind the container. I probably wasn’t as sneaky as I thought, but nobody ever said anything. In recent years, I have been cooking with other types of mushrooms and have found that certain kinds require the stems to be removed. Once again, I hated the idea of just throwing the stems away, but I didn’t enjoy eating the chewy stem. This tip is focused on how to repurpose those pesky mushroom stems that no one seems to like.
This tip was created mostly out of desperation, as are most of my tips. I had a bag full of shiitake mushroom stems and I had no idea what to do with them. They had been sitting in the fridge for almost two weeks and I didn’t want to throw them away. I really don’t like wasting things, and get this extreme feeling of guilt when I do so. After much thought, I decided to try something different. I wanted to add a chewy texture and a meaty flavor to a vegan meatball, and I instantly knew exactly what I was going to do. I decided to take the stems from all of the mushrooms I had accumulated over the past few weeks and throw them in the food processor until they were ground up. The final product vaguely resembled ground beef. I sautéed them with some onions, spices, and added oats to create the “meatballs”. After coarsely grinding the stems, the texture wasn’t tough, but more chewy that resembled the texture of meat. I figured I could use it to add texture and flavor to vegan meat alternatives!
Once I figured out a way to repurpose the stems, I was thrilled! I didn’t have to carefully sneak around grocery stores to pull off the stems and I didn’t have to feel wasteful if I just threw them away! Since then, I have been even more excited than ever to cook with mushrooms. I look forward to experimenting and seeing what goes best with the addition of the chewy, meaty, stems!