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I love mushrooms and buy at least one box a week. I am always looking out for a bargain, so I decided to give these Sainsburies Basic mushrooms a try. They cost 89p for 400g which was the cheapest box by 10p when I shopped.The more expensive boxes were also slightly smaller in weight. The reverse of the label has the information that these are harvested in conditions that replicate an autumn morning, which amused me. These are only available as button types rather than specific varieties.
First impressions were, to be honest, not that good. The packaging is a simple standard plastic tub with a cling-film type cover. This didn't bother me as I am not really looking for "pretty" packaging on something so basic but it is a shame that the plastic box is yet another thing that can't be recycled easily.The mushrooms themselves come with longer stalks than are usually found on supermarket ones, but again I think this is fine as i'm happy to make use of them. The problem is the ends of the stalks are still covered in their growing medium, a compost I presume. This makes them look dirty. I decided to buy them anyway as I could easily chop off the very ends and wipe clean the rest, but I can see that it would put some people off.
The mushrooms aren't a uniform size. However, apart from a couple of extremely small ones, I thought that most were larger than your average button mushrooms. Many of the fungi are "twin" mushrooms, eg two growing close that have fused together. I intended to make soup with these so as I had to chop them up the different sizes were no disadvantage to me. If you don't have time to give them the extra preparation of trimming the ends off, then you may want to pay extra for those that just need wiping.
They had a great savoury, slightly nutty taste, not at all bland. I needed very little seasoning to make a full flavoured soup. In fact, I couldn't taste any difference between these and the more expensive boxes I usually buy. Since making the soup I have used them in a casserole, quiche, tartlets and pasta dishes and the results have been uniformly good and tasty. As for their texture, I find this varies with how they are cooked for example they have a fairly meaty texture if grilled but like all mushrooms they can go more rubbery if over -cooked.
I followed the instructions to store the mushrooms in the fridge with the cling-film removed, and I found that this kept them perfectly fresh up to the best before date and for a day after. I find that mushrooms kept out of the fridge go off quite quickly especially in unopened plastic containers as this seems to make them "sweat."
All in all, some tasty mushrooms.I would use these whenever a recipe called for button mushrooms that needed chopping or perhaps in a rustic style recipe as their mixed shapes makes them look foraged! They are especially suited to soup making as you can afford to use plenty of them. I for one won't be going back to more expensive packets having tried these. The only downside is that being an item from the Basics range means that they may not be available in smaller branches of Sainsburies, in paticular the Sainsburies Locals.[Please note that the price of these does seem to fluctuate by a few pence from time to time and so sometimes costs a little more or less.]