Crimini mushrooms are marketed under many names, including Baby Bella, Roman, Italian, Brown or Classic Brown mushrooms. They are similar in size to white mushrooms but are a light cocoa color and have a firmer texture. They are much more flavorful than white mushrooms, having a richer, earthy taste that activates the umami taste buds. Their flavor has often been referred to as meaty.
The cap is broad and flat ranging in color from a tan to dark brown. The stems are tough and woody, but they add an earthy flavor to soups and stocks, so don't toss them out. As with all mushrooms, the clear indication of quality is a veil that is still closed on the underside of the cap covering the spores. This shows freshness but also indicates if the mushrooms were rushed in growing. It is hard to find very fresh shiitake mushrooms and most are at least a few days old.
Portobello mushrooms are actually large crimini mushrooms, and because of the savory meaty flavor have become popular in the last few years. As mushrooms mature, the ring that protects the spores breaks and as a result there is loss of moisture. Young mushrooms contain as much as 80% water, and as they lose water (as portobellos do by having their gills exposed), the savory mushroom flavor is increasingly concentrated.
How Mushrooms Grow
The first step is mixing in the correct ingredients into the fertilizer. By combining wheat straw, chicken litter, cottonseed meal, gypsum, and urea all blended together. This gives the mushrooms a food source that they can then eat off of.
Next the mushrooms are placed into trays then put into a pasteurization room for 8 days. One the 3rd day the tray are heated up to 160 degrees to kill off anything you are not wanting to grow with the mushrooms.
The trays are then placed onto a spawn line where the mushroom spawn and some water is added to the compost. Then mixed back into the trays. Then the trays are transferred into grow rooms.
The mixed trays are brought into are humidity and temperature controlled rooms. They stay in the rooms for 15 days so that the spawn can grow off of the grain onto the compost which is it's food source. The root system (mycelium) then can devlelop.
Next the trays are placed into a setback room where a layer of peat moss and limestone are added to the top of the mixture. Then the rooms temperature will be cooled down to forces the mycelium to grow pins.
Mushrooms will double in size every 24 hours. Once the mushrooms have fully grown they will be will be picked, have their stems cut and shorted based off of their size.