The ancient Egyptians Pharaohs believed that mushroom was the ‘food of the gods’ and it had magical powers. Edible Mushroom is a unique food that gives a satisfactory filling and delicious feeling to many a main dish. Mushrooms can be added to soups, fries, broiled and grilled in sausages, sautéed, steeped as a tea and also eaten raw. Mushrooms can be mixed with onions, green beans, tomatoes, fresh herbs, creams, cheese and meats. Sample some easy to make mushroom recipe from our mushrooming collections here.
Mushroom is a type of fungus produced on the soil above the ground or on their food source. Edible mushrooms have always been popular and used extensively in cooking through out the world.
Benefits of Mushroom
Mushrooms are low in calories and fat. Many species of mushroom are rich in fiber, protein and provide vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, cobalamins and ascorbic acid. Mushrooms are also noted for their mineral content including iron, selenium, potassium and phosphorus. For instance the mushroom Creminis is an excellent source of selenium, manganese, iron, copper and zinc as well as some components of vitamin B complex.
Mushrooms are popular for their medicinal value. Though some mushrooms like Death Angel - Amanita bisporigera, Amanita virosa, and Amanita verna, are poisonous and can be deadly if consumed. A form of death cap - Amanita phalloides is purported to be the cause of 90 % of fatalities occurring all over the world due to fungus poisoning. Eating mushrooms gathered from the wild can be very risky and fatal and only individuals knowledgeable on mushroom identification should indulge in such exercises. This is perhaps why people who collect mushrooms for consumption are called ‘mycophagists’ as it involves meticulous attention to detail and adequate knowledge of this species.
The edible mushroom can aid to boost the immune system. Some mushrooms help fight cancer while some others reduce the risk of heart disease.
Many mushrooms offer powerful antioxidants like Ergothioneine and Selenium. Dr.Well in his paper presented at the Institute of Food Technologists meet in Orlando, Florida along with researcher N.Joy Dubost mentioned that portabella mushroom ‘had an oxygen radical absorbance capacity value of 9.7 per gram and Creminis clocked in at 9.5. Data from other researchers pegged carrots and green beans at 5, red pepper at 10 and broccoli at 12’.
Varieties of Edible mushrooms
There are 70,000 species of mushrooms in the world and only about 250 of them are actually edible. Let us look at some of the mushrooms that can be used in cooking.
Creminis: These are actually baby portabella mushrooms and can replace white mushrooms in any dish even though they are denser than the white mushrooms.
Portabella mushrooms: These mushrooms add flavor to a sauté. Portabellas are great grilled and used in sandwiches alone or with grilled peppers and cheese. They can also be cut up and added with rice and other dishes. Portabellas are meaty and can contribute to a satisfying and hearty meal.
Shitakes: This type of mushroom has many health benefits but it is grossly underutilized. They exhibit a wonderful woodsy flavor and chewy texture. Shitakes contain lentinan, a potent immune booster and cancer fighter. They are also used in parts of Asia in the treatment of flu, colds, stomach upsets and exhaustion.
Dried mushrooms: These can be easily reconstituted by simmering in a cup of water, milk or broth for about twenty minutes. One can use the strained broth to flavor the dish too.
Morels are highly prized of the wild mushrooms. They have an extraordinary flavor and they are earthy and woodsy. They evoke a soulful, smoky and sensual experience of wilderness. Morels can simply be sautéed and reconstituted in butter or cheese.
Porcini mushrooms are valued for their meaty texture great depth of flavor and distinct shape. They are considered as one of the finest tasting mushrooms.
Black trumpet mushrooms are delicious but very little known. They are fragrant and fruity and go very well with fish or in cheddar cheese dishes.
Lobster mushrooms: These are red like cooked lobsters and are sweet delicate and delicious. They are good with egg and milk dishes.
Wood ear mushrooms are highly prized for the culinary properties and are well reputed for promoting good health. They have an earthly gourmet flavor and are renowned for distinctive and pleasing crisp texture. They can be tried in a stir fry, in miso soup or added to rice.
How to choose and store mushrooms
Mushrooms that are chosen for cooking should be smooth and dry. Mushrooms that have gills under them suggest richer flavor. Mushrooms that do not have gills provide more delicious flavor.
Mushrooms should be stored unwashed in a refrigerator in the paper bag or container in which they were purchased.
Mushrooms are perishable and therefore they should be used soon after purchase. Their life can be prolonged if they are put in a dry container and not in plastic wraps.
Dried mushrooms can be stored in the pantry in the bag they came and this will keep them for a very long time dried.
Mushroom cooking tips:
- Mushrooms only need a nice rinse for quicker cleaning. Mushrooms act as spongers and therefore rubbing them in a damp cloth or using a mushroom brush does not really help.
- The nutritional value of mushrooms just lies under the skin. Therefore mushrooms should not be peeled.
- Those mushrooms with rough stems like Shitakes can be trimmed before use.
- It is recommended not to crowd the pan while mushrooms are sautéed. This way a delicious caramelized mushroom can be cooked instead of a soupy mess.
- Mushroom does not need much cooking time. Therefore they can be added in the end for a soup or a stew.
- While adding mushrooms to an omelet, first sauté them with onions and then add them once it is almost set.
- Mushrooms can be eaten raw. But they have a tough cell wall that breaks down only when cooked. Cooking also destroys the natural toxins in mushrooms and the heat helps to bring out the flavor.
Stuffed mushroom recipes
Crab stuffed mushroom delicacy
1 pound large mushrooms
Butter 6 tablespoons
Green onions minced 3
Minced red bell pepper 4 tablespoons
Crab meat 4 ounces
Fresh and fine bread crumbs 1 cup
Salt to taste
Creole seasoning blend ¼ teaspoon
Pepper 1 teaspoon
Parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons
Wash and trim the end stems from mushrooms. Chop stems and set aside. Melt butter and brush over the mushrooms. Take a shallow baking dish and spray with a butter flavored spray or grease with butter. Add the reserved chopped stems, minced green onions and red bell pepper to the remaining butter after melting it with skillet. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Now combine the cooked ingredients with bread crumbs, crab meat and seasonings. Fill each mushrooms piling up. Sprinkle each mushroom with a little Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until hot and mushroom caps are tender.
Another Crab Stuffed Mushroom Recipe
Cooked and flaked crab 1 cup
Basil ¼ teaspoon
Garlic powder ¼ teaspoon
Green onions 2
Packaged cream cheese 8 ounce
Lemon juice 1 teaspoon
Worcestershire sauce 2 dashes
Freshly ground pepper 1 teaspoon
Cheddar cheese ½ cup
Grated parmesan cheese 2 tablespoon
Wash mushrooms and remove stems and set caps aside. Finely trim about ½ mushroom stems. Mix cream cheese, garlic powder, chopped stems, lemon juice, sauce, basil, onions and lemon pepper. Fill mushroom caps with the above mixture and place in a large lightly greased baking dish. With the grated cheddar and parmesan cheeses top it. Refrigerate for an overnight. Bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes and serve hot. The leftover crab mixture may be sliced with sour cream and served as a dip for crackers, chips and vegetables.
Stuffed mushroom with Italian sausage and parmesan cheese:
Fresh mushrooms 20 large
Sweet Italian sausage 8 ounces
Clove garlic minced 1 large
Olive oil 2 tablespoons
Parsley finely chopped 2 tablespoon
Parmesan cheese ¼ cup grated
Cup water ¼ cup
Wash mushrooms and remove stem and chop finely. Remove the outer casing from sausage and put in skillet with chopped mushroom stems, garlic and a tablespoon of oil. Cook till sausage turns brown. Add a teaspoon of oil, parsley and parmesan cheese. Fill mushrooms with sausage mixture and put in a shallow baking pan. Pour ¼ cup water and remaining tablespoon of oil into bottom of the pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Bacon stuffed mushrooms:
Fresh mushrooms 1 pound
Bacon slices dried 4
Minced onion ½ cup
Minced fresh green pepper 2 tablespoons
Pepper 1/8 teaspoon
Cream cheese 3 ounces
Dry bread crumbs ½ cup
Hot water ¼ cup
Clean mushrooms remove and chop stems and set aside. Fry bacon in a heavy skillet. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain. In bacon drippings sauté onion, green pepper, chopped mushroom stems until tender. Drain. Add salt and pepper to taste. Soften cream cheese and blend bacon and vegetables. Press mixture firmly into mushroom caps and mould a bit. Place bread crumbs in a small bowl. Turn filled mushroom caps upside down and press bake uncovered for about 25 minutes at 325 degrees.
Plain stuffed mushrooms:
Large stuffing mushroom 2 packages
Seasoned bread crumbs 2 cups
Cheese 3 tablespoons
Tomato sauce 2 tablespoons
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and remove the stems from all the mushrooms. Place on a paper towel for a few minutes and blot dry. Mix all the ingredients together adding olive oil to create a crumbly texture. Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Stuff the mushrooms using a regular sized spoon and place about 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes till the stuffing looks golden and crispy.