Did you know mushrooms are a part of the fungi family? This may lead you to find mushrooms unappetizing, but it shouldn’t! They are perfectly edible and are very nutritious. Mushrooms are neither a fruit nor vegetable and offers benefits to your health outside the realm that produce does.
This Sunday, April 16th is Day of the Mushroom and it’s the perfect day to really take in this food for all its glory.
Mushrooms come in almost 10 different varieties that all taste different. Here are 4 common mushrooms you see at the grocery store:
- Button, or white mushroom, is the common variety you’ll see in the grocery store. They’re harvested when they’re young and have a very subtle, earthy flavor.
- Cremini mushrooms are sold as a baby portobello and are a more mature white button mushroom. They have a mild mushroom flavor, but when compared to white button mushroom, they have more flavor. If you want to add a little bit of a deeper flavor to a dish, swap white button mushroom for cremini.
- Portobello mushrooms is the most mature stage of the white button mushroom with its cap fully grown out. If you like white button mushrooms, this is an easy step up! This mushroom is also mild in flavor, but has a meaty texture and can be a great substitute for meat in certain dishes. Tip: this is particularly delectable when it’s grilled.
- Shiitake mushrooms are grown mainly in Japan, China and Korea. They are savory and meaty, and add an umami flavor to dishes.
- Porcini mushrooms are also considered meaty mushrooms, like the portobello. This is often used in Italian cuisine and has a slightly nutty and creamy flavor.
Mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, such as riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid. B vitamins help provide your body with energy by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Riboflavin also helps to maintain healthy red blood cells, niacin promotes healthy skin, and pantothenic acid helps with the production of hormones.
They also provide you with a number of minerals:
- Selenium works in your body as an antioxidant to protect your cells from damage that could lead to heart disease, some cancers, or age-related diseases. It also plays a role in keeping your immune system healthy.
- Copper helps make red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. Without copper, getting oxygen around your body could become an issue. It also assists in bone health.
- Potassium aids in the maintenance of normal fluid and mineral balance, which helps control blood pressure. It works in conjunction with sodium.
Beta-glucans are also found in many mushroom species, specifically the stem of shiitake mushrooms. It has been shown to have immune-stimulating effects and aid in resistance against allergies. Studies have shown that 3 grams of beta-glucans per day can lower your blood cholesterol by 5%.
If you’ve tried chicken marsala before and found the mushroom sauce to be your least favorite part, please don’t let them stop you from trying them again! There are numerous ways you can eat mushrooms and everyone has a different favorite way of eating them.
Here are a couple ways you can try mushrooms:
- Slice white button mushrooms and mix them with quinoa and vegetables. This will add flavor to the mushrooms and make a delicious lunch. Recipe here.
- Stuffed portobello mushrooms make the best appetizer, snack, or side dish to any meal. You can stuff the cap with meat, vegetables, or rice, it’s all up to you! Recipe here.
- Add porcini mushrooms to a barley soup for added flavor. This is a great way to incorporate more mushrooms into your meals without having to think twice about it. Recipe here.
- Swap your beef patty for a mushroom patty for an interesting and delicious twist to your traditional burger. YUM. Recipe here.
There are so many different ways you can add mushrooms into your meals because of all the different types. Don’t be afraid to experiment with all the different varieties until you find one that you love and truly enjoy.
Your Turn to Take Action: What’s your favorite type of mushroom? How will you incorporate it into meals this week? Let me know in the comments below!