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.
Button mushrooms have grown wild since prehistoric times and were revered by the Egyptians, who believed the mushrooms gave the consumer special powers or eternal life. They were the “food of the Gods” or cibus diorum in Rome and in Russian and Mexican folklore, mushrooms gave people superhuman strength. Though it is unknown when mushrooms were first cultivated, it was likely in the Asian countries of Japan, India, and China. Agaricus bisporus was first cultivated in Europe in the 17th century and in France, the mushrooms were cultivated in the catacombs beneath Paris leading to the moniker “champignons de Paris” or Paris mushrooms. Cremini is still cultivated underground in Western France. In North America, Agaricus bisporus has been the primarily cultivated mushroom since the late 1800s. At least 50% of the fresh mushrooms grown in the United States are produced in Pennsylvania.