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Mad for Mushrooms!

My children gave my husband a book of “Dad Jokes” for his birthday. Like he needs it! He can write a book of these types of corny jokes himself. One of his favorites is:

Why did the mushroom get invited to all the parties?

‘Cause he’s a fungi!

Good thing my hubby loves mushrooms as much as he makes silly jokes because we’ll be adding a lot more mushrooms to our meal plan. The food industry is paying a lot of attention to the health advantages of consuming mushrooms. Now and then, a particular food is highlighted with education, recipes, and even growing tips, and this is the year of the mushroom.

Like so many other foods that have been touted, such as kale and cauliflower, there are many health reasons to eat more mushrooms.  Mushrooms are low in calories, fat, and sodium, and free from cholesterol. Mushrooms are packed with minerals, like selenium, potassium, copper, iron and phosphorus that help our bodies function normally. They are also rich in B vitamins: riboflavin [B2], folate [B9], thiamine [B1], pantothenic acid [B5], and niacin [B3] all of which improve our energy levels by producing more red blood cells which carry oxygen through our bodies.

Penn University researchers found that mushrooms contain two critical antioxidants (ergothioneine and glutathione) that, when found together in foods, have super powers! Together, these antioxidants help fight against the diseases of aging, like cancer, coronary heart disease and Alzheimer’s. In fact, mushrooms contain the highest levels of these two antioxidants compared to any other food. Just five button mushrooms a day will help keep the doctor away!

We love to substitute meat with mushrooms in sauces, add them to soups, salads and sautée them with our morning eggs. There are many varieties to choose from and recipes to try!

9 Favorite Mushroom Varieties

  1. White Button: These popular and mild-tasting fungi come in white or brown. Easily add them to a variety of recipes.

    Fresh whole white button mushrooms, or agaricus, in a bowl on a rustic wooden counter ready to be cleaned and washed for dinner, overhead view

  2. Crimini: Like button mushrooms (from the same family, Agaricus bisporus), these are a bit bigger than the button and firmer, making them great in soups and stews.
  3. Portobello: Portobello mushrooms are part of the Agaricus bisporus family too. They are large and meaty making them perfect for pizzas or sandwiches and more.
  4. Shitake: These mushrooms are mainly grown in Japan and often found in Asian inspired recipes. The savory and meatier flavor make them a great addition to soups and sauces. They can be found dried or fresh.  Dried mushrooms have a more intense flavor. If you use the fresh, remember to remove the stem as it is tough to chew.
  5. Porcini: Similar to the portobello, this variety is meaty and is often used in Italian cuisine. They are not easy to find fresh but dried porcini are easy to reconstitute in water. Use them in a variety of dishes such as pastas, risottos or soups.
  6. Enoki: Another favorite in Japanese cuisine. These mushrooms work exceptionally well in soups, noodle dishes, and salads. Find them fresh or canned. Make sure you use them while they are still white and crisp.
  7. Oyster:  Especially popular in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cooking, these mushrooms have a slightly metallic flavor if eaten raw. Try sautéing, stir-fry, braising, roasting , frying, or grilling them to bring out their delicate sweet flavor.
  8. Beech: Also know as clamshell mushrooms, they get their name because they grow on the beech tree. These mild-tasting fungi can be used the same as you would button mushrooms in everything from salads to soup.
  9. Maitake: Found at the base of oak trees, these mushrooms have been used in Asian cuisine for centuries. Their meaty taste make them a great addition/substitution for pizzas and pastas.

    Go Mad for Mushrooms!

     Search for more delightful and easy-to-make mushroom inspired recipes in your DinnerTime Recipe Box.

    Use the filter function (found on right of your DinnerTime Recipe Box search) to find dessertsmain dishside dishes etc.

    A tasty alternative to meat.

    Wow! Load up on all the healthy mushrooms in this dish.

    Serve this elegant and healthy dish in 25 minutes!