Baby bella and white button are strains of Agaricus bisporus mushrooms which look and taste otherwise. The flavor of the two is also influenced by the growing conditions and the duration of cultivation. White buttons have been harvested at an immature phase, while baby bellas are harvested an intermediate stage of adulthood. Portabella mushrooms are fully adult baby bellas.
Despite their title, white buttons vary in color from white to light brown, depending on when they’re harvested. They’re tiny — less than 1/2 inch — and resemble rounded buttons with short stems. White buttons have a light flavor that becomes stronger when they’re cooked. They’re eaten raw in salads, sauteed on pizza or burgers, or cooked in chili, soups and other dishes. Approximately 90 percent of the mushrooms sold in the United States are white buttons. They’re also known as Paris mushrooms since they once were grown from the caves under the city of Paris, France.
Bigger and Browner
Baby bellas are harvested when they’ve been growing about 40 days. They’re bigger and heavier than white buttons, and vary in color from light tan to rich brown. Baby bellas possess an earthier, meatier flavorthat complements beef, wild game, vegetables and rich sauces. They could withstand high temperatures, so are suitable for roasting and baking. They’re known by a number of different names, including cremini, mini bella, baby portabella, portabellini and brown mushrooms.
Great for You
Mushrooms are 90 percent water and contain no fat. A serving of five or four white buttons contains 18 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrates, while a serving of baby bellas has 23 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrates. Mushrooms contain 18 vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant phytonutrients, including vitamin D and four distinct B vitamins. They’re high in potassium and selenium. Mushrooms may benefit your cardiovascular and immune systems, as well as fight cancer and inflammation.
Choosing and Storing
To choose the freshest mushrooms, then start looking for ones which are firm and smooth. They ought to be plump and dry, but not dried out, wrinkled or slimy. Mushrooms can be stored in a brown paper bag for a day or two. For more storage, then spread them in a glass bowl or paper sack so that they do not touch each other and cover with a moist cloth. Brush peat moss, dirt and other debris away with your fingers or a wet paper towel. They may be rinsed briefly but should not be submerged in water as they absorb water readily. Don’t freeze fresh mushrooms; rather, saute and freeze them for around a month.