Huge debate erupts over controversial kitchen practice: 'This is what I was taught'

There's heated discussion over whether to peel mushrooms before cooking.

A huge debate has erupted around whether or not you need to peel mushrooms. Credit: Reddit
A huge debate has erupted around whether or not you need to peel mushrooms. Credit: Reddit

Are you team peel or team no peel when it comes to mushrooms? It's a question that's sparked passionate discussions in kitchens everywhere, and the internet is awash with opinions. From seasoned chefs to home cooks, everyone seems to have a strong stance on the matter.

"I'm having a debate with my daughter," confessed a member of the $10 Meals Australia Facebook group. "I personally peel mushrooms and she doesn't." Intrigued by this kitchen dispute, she turned to the group for opinions.


The responses poured in, revealing a broad spectrum of mushroom-prepping practices.

"I've never peeled a mushroom in my life," declared one member proudly.

Another chimed in with traditional wisdom: "I thought you are meant to peel them because they grow in poo. And cut the bottom 1cm off. This is what I was taught."

Fresh mashrooms in the ground. Growing mushrooms champignon at home, from mycelium in a cardboard box.
The debate raised worries about mushroom cultivation, suggesting the need for peeling. Photo: Getty

The mention of "poo" sparked horrified reactions.

"They grow in poo???" exclaimed one member in disbelief.

Another member clarified, "Commercial mushrooms are grown in a mix of straw and manure."

Some argued for peeling, citing hygiene concerns.

"I peel mushrooms because you can't scrub them the way you can a root vegetable," explained one member. "And washing them just before frying them is a nuisance as you can never get them properly dry."

But others pushed back, insisting that peeling mushrooms is unnecessary and wasteful.

"Don't peel them," urged one member. "If there is any dirt on them, wipe them with damp paper towel. By peeling them, you are losing the nutrients and flavour."

The debate raged on, with some feeling torn by conflicting information. "I've also heard not to wash them as they're porous and the 'pooticles' (poo particles) just soak in," shared one member. "I just can't not peel them. I've been brainwashed."

Amidst the disagreement, a voice of authority emerged from Australian Mushrooms, settling the debate once and for all.

"There is no need to peel mushrooms," they confirm in the FAQs on the official website for Aussie mushies. "Apart from being time-consuming, a lot of goodness and flavour is in the skin." Instead, they recommended a simple wipe with a damp cloth or a soft brush to remove any dirt.

The process of peeling mushrooms. A woman's hands peel mushrooms with a knife, close-up. Cooking mushrooms. High quality photo
Aussies are divided over whether we should be peeling mushrooms before use. Photo: Getty

Regarding the lingering concern about "poo," Australian Mushrooms also reassured that if there is residual compost still on the mushroom when you buy them, just brush it off.

Moreover, the Australian Mushroom Growers Association confirmed this sentiment.

"Using modern farming methods, mushroom compost is pasteurised," they explain. "So, there is no need to wash or peel your mushrooms. Simply use a paper towel to brush off any light residue."


And just in case you have any lingering concerns, food scientist and nutrition researcher Dr Vincent Candrawinata — known as Dr Vincent — also confirms peeling is generally not necessary unless you have a specific reason to do so, as most of the mushrooms we get from the supermarkets are already cleaned.

However, he does urge shoppers to "Always inspect mushrooms for any signs of spoilage, such as sliminess or a strong off smell."

So, whether you're a seasoned chef or a home cook, the verdict is clear: when it comes to mushrooms, skip the peeling and embrace that flavour and nutrient-dense skin!

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