September 27, 2012

Who wants to eat fungus? If it is mushrooms, then count me in. During my brief stent as a vegetarian, mushrooms were a staple in my diet. Though I am back to my meat eating ways, I still enjoy mushrooms as a regular part of a balanced diet. Just so you know, I keep the meat to a minimum since eating meat has been linked to increased cancer risk and speeding up the aging process. Meat is a great source of protein, and the negative effects of meat can be decreased significantly by safe meat preparation and the consumption of LOTS of fruits and vegetables.

So what’s so good about mushrooms?

Mushrooms are yummy little fungi. They are known to have several health benefits. Mushrooms contain phytochemicals that help decrease cancer risk. Mushrooms contain several vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, zinc, selenium, thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, copper, and potassium. Mushrooms are also a good substitution for meat, and add texture to veggie dishes.

What are mushrooms, and where did they come from?

Mushrooms are fungi that can be found all over the world. Some have hallucinogenic qualities, some are not edible, and others are cultivated and sold in markets all over. There are several different types of mushrooms (more than 300!), from white button mushrooms, to large portabella mushrooms, to shiitake mushrooms, to the rare expensive truffles. All have different shapes, sizes, and flavors, and can add something unique (in flavor and appearance) to ethnic dishes.

How do you select and store mushrooms?

When selecting a mushroom, select one that is firm, plump, clean, and spongy. Do not select mushrooms that have slimy and wet flesh, worms, or discoloration that indicates spoilage. Fresh, pre-cut mushrooms that are bought at the market and stored in a container, can be refrigerated and stored in their container. Otherwise, mushrooms can be stored in the refrigerator in a paper bag, and can be keep moist with a damp paper towel (don’t overdo it on the “damp”-ness). Dried mushrooms can be stored in their container, and then in a sealed container once open. To remoisten pre-cut mushrooms, add a bit of water to them, and they will re-plump. Do not leave them sitting in the water too long (I am not sure how long is safe, so keep an eye on them). Mushrooms should be thrown out if they become odorous, slimy, or develop dark spots or growths.

What can you do with mushrooms?

Mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked. Here are some ideas for using mushrooms:
1)  add raw or grilled mushrooms to a green salad

2) garnish your plate with grilled or sautéed mushrooms

3) add mushrooms to a stir fry or to steamed veggies

4) add raw mushrooms to a veggie sandwich or burger

5) skip the meat and make a mushroom burger

6) add pickled mushrooms to a cold veggie or sandwich plate

7) add mushrooms to pizza

8) sauté mushroom with garlic and onions, and use them to top meats, like poultry, fish, and red meat

9) add mushrooms to warm marinara sauce, gravy, or a healthy version of Alfredo sauce

10) make a warm mushroom soup

~ Cece


Field Guide to Produce: How to Identify, Select, and Prepare Virtually Every Fruit and Vegetable on the Market by Aliza Green

Total Nutrition: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need Edited by Victor Herbert, M.D., F.A.C.P. and Genell J. Subak-Sharpe, M.S.

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno N.D. with Lara Pizzorno M.A., L.M.T.

One comment on “Mushrooms!

  1. wartica says:

    I agree ; when I used to eat pizza , it would be doused with mushrooms:)

You must be logged in to post a comment.