Baby Bella or Cremini mushrooms have a light to dark brown cap with a short white stem. Small brown gills are hidden beneath the cap. The flavor is mild and somewhat earthy with a meaty texture. The entire Cremini mushroom is edible, unlike the stem of the mature Portobello.
Cremini mushrooms are available year-round.
Cremini (or Crimini) mushrooms are known botanically as Agaricus bisporus, and are also known as baby Portobellos. These little brown mushrooms are the same as the white Button mushrooms seen on pizzas and the large Portobello mushrooms that grill like a steak. The difference between these three mushrooms is merely age. Cremini mushrooms are simply mature white Button mushrooms and slightly immature Portobellos. Agaricus bisporus production accounts for 90% of the mushrooms cultivated in the United States.
Cremini mushrooms contain 15 different vitamins, minerals and essential phytonutrients. Refrigerating mushrooms can extend the life of the phytonutrients. Agaricus bisporus has been found to contain a polysaccharide that inhibits the growth of a bacterium that is responsible for stomach ulcers, gastritis and gastric cancers.
Cremini mushrooms are ideal for fresh eating, baking, roasting or stewing. Remove the stem, and stuff Cremini mushrooms with crab or other meats, add to sauces and soups or slice and top a pizza. Add quartered Cremini mushrooms to green or grain salads. The stems are completely edible; pair with red wine, stock, mozzarella cheese, tomato-based sauces, fresh herbs and beef. Creminis can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Store loosely in a paper bag with moist paper towels to prolong freshness.