Whether you'll admit it or not, there's a good chance you've accidentally overcooked your food at some point in your life, ending up with tough, leathery steak or even some gross, mushy vegetables. But regardless of where your cooking skills stand after learning the hard way, there's at least one food that you'll likely never have to worry about overcooking: mushrooms.
As explained in a new video by the folks over at America's Test Kitchen, it's basically impossible to overcook the delicious fungi, unlike many vegetables and, of course, meat. To demonstrate this, the culinary scientists steamed slices of portobello mushrooms, beef tenderloin, and zucchini for 40 minutes and used a fancy tenderness analyzing machine to measure their textures every five minutes, because they basically have the best food jobs ever.
While all three food samples were nice and tender after the first five minutes, further cooking caused the tenderloin to become tough and the zucchini to become way too mushy. The tenderness of the mushroom, however, hardly changed over the next 35 minutes of cooking, which shows just how forgiving the 'shrooms can be when exposed to varying cooking temperatures and cooking times. This is all thanks to chitin, a polymer found in mushrooms' cell walls that, as the video explains, is remarkably heat-stable. Simply put, you can sauté mushrooms for a few minutes or roast them for almost an hour and still end up with perfectly tender mushrooms. Hell, yes.