Tomatoes and Mushrooms: processing cheap & nasty product

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by masseurchef, Feb 21, 2019.

  1. masseurchef

    masseurchef

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    Recent (1-2 years) culinary school grad, line cook.
    I often see tomatoes and mushrooms (among other vegetables and fruits) that are "on their way out" being sold for really cheap, like a dollar a bag. The quality is such that these can only really be used for processing in some way -think sauces, stocks, pickles, jams, chutneys, relishes, etc. So, any ideas for tomatoes and mushrooms? For tomatoes specifically, I would love to hear some strategies for dealing with skins; is it easier to concasse (blanch and ice bath, peel) or roast and slip peels off after? For mushrooms, is there some way of reducing / concentrating their flavour in a sauce or something?Like I said, the quality is too low for any sort of use as fresh, intact ingredients. I was thinking of frying mushrooms down with mirepoix in a bit of tomato paste, deglazing with red wine and/or stock, straining and reducing to a concentrated sort of glace for future use?
     
  2. Transglutaminase

    Transglutaminase

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    My humble opinions..
    For tomatoes, like you've stated, I often blanch (or roast), peeling optional & run them through a food mill & then freeze.
    Canning is too much of a PITA.
    Mushrooms, if they're not too far gone, slice & throw in the dehydrator - can also be ground to powder after drying, depending on what you want to do with them.
    Canning old mushrooms seems dangerous to me.
     
  3. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    Mushrooms could be pickled or marinated. Powder is a great idea. You could probably do that in a low oven. I haven't dehydrated much. I might also try simply grinding in a processor then cooking them down to a paste. You could make a mushroom chutney.
    I don't know that I would strain it before freezing. If you have that many, try it both ways.
    I can Roma tomatoes from a local farm every year so I have a fresh supply for pasta dishes in winter. Blanching and peeling or blanching and the food mill works. If memory serves, I need a bigger food mill but in any case once blanched the skin comes off easily enough. If roasting, don't forget to score the bottom and take out the stem end first like you do when blanching.
     
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  4. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    You could also harvest the spores from the mushrooms and grow your own using coffee grounds. This is a wonderful way to avoid the ridiculous prices of these "gourmet" mushrooms found in stores. With little effort and cost, you could actually create a situation where you have access to a very cheap and renewable source of delicious and otherwise expensive mushrooms all year round. :)
     
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  5. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    coffee grounds? Please explain.
     
  6. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    You use spent coffee grounds to grow the mushrooms. You can start it off in a Ball jar. Just harvest the mushroom spores, put them in the jar with the spent coffee grounds and after a few days, the spores will start to form the network within the grounds.

    Just make sure the grounds are moist and don't start the process in an environment where there may be other moulds and fungus.

    Once the root network is established in the coffee grounds, remove it from the Ball jar, transplant into some organic matter or some composted soil and grow your mushrooms. :) Make sure the environment is dark, warm and moist.

    Eazy peezy. :)
     
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  7. ChefBryan

    ChefBryan

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    my first thought with those two ingredients together would be one of my personal favorites, sauce Chasseur. Aside from that and the other ideas already mentioned and the obvious soups and bisques, one of my other personal favorite things to do with thin sliced mushrooms is roast with some olive oil and kosher salt. you can get them brown and crisp and they make a wonderful faux vegetarian bacon.
     
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