| For thousands of years, mushrooms have been used both as food and for medicinal purposes. They are often classified as a vegetable or an herb, but they are actually fungi. While there are over 14,000 mushrooms, only about 3,000 are edible, about 700 have known medicinal properties, and fewer than one percent are recognized as poisonous.|
Mushrooms contain about 80 to 90 % water. Mushrooms are the perfect food for people following weight management programs due to their very low calorie, sodium and fat content.
They are an excellent source of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure for those with an elevated blood pressure and it also helps reduce the risk of stroke. One medium portabella mushroom has more potassium than a banana or a glass of orange juice. One serving of mushrooms can provide 20 – 40% of the daily value of copper which is known for cardio-protective tendencies.
Mushrooms are also a great source of riboflavin, niacin and selenium.
Riboflavin is known for its role as an antioxidant as well at playing a key role in the production of energy through the metabolism of fats, carbs and proteins.
Niacin is known for its role in raising your “HDL” cholesterol or good cholesterol.
Selenium is an antioxidant that works with vitamin E to protect cells from the harmful effects of free radicals.
In the United States the most commonly consumed mushroom is the white button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus). There are 2 other forms of this variety; Crimini or brown mushrooms with a delightful earthy flavor and firmer texture and the Portabella mushroom with a large cap and meaty flavor.
Some recent research shows that white button mushrooms can reduce the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Shiitake mushrooms have been used for 100’s of years by the Chinese and Japanese to treat colds and flu. Shiitake mushrooms appear to stimulate the immune system help fight infection and they also show anti-tumor activity.
Today, mushrooms are enjoyed for their flavor and texture. They have their own flavors but can also take on the flavors of other ingredients. Their flavors get stronger with during cooking, while their texture holds its own during sautéing or stir-frying. They are a popular addition to salads, soups, casseroles, stews and a treat when used as an appetizer.
Here are a few of our favorite recipes for you to try.
Portobello Burgers: a delightful variation of the standard hamburger
Shiitake Mushrooms on Fettuccine with Fresh Basil : this fabulous cream sauce is tasty
Scallops with Brandied Leeks and Mushrooms: delicious flavors to combine
Wild Mushroom and Barley Risotto: a wonderful depth of flavor with a touch Parmesan
Beef and Portobello Mushroom Melt: this is sure to tantalize your taste buds!
Look for more recipes in each of the categories
at the recipe icon above!