The Mushroom Crowd
Mushrooms are making their way into all sorts of products such as drinks like coffee, tea, smoothies. The current trend is to pack mushrooms like reishi and chaga into drinks for those who are inclined to exploit the health benefits of these fungi. What I love about mushrooms is there versatility. Recent I decided that I was not eating enough vegetables and so for the next six months I decided to follow a vegetarian eating plan. This decision was not based on health issues or diet trends. Instead I made my decision based on a personal desire to explore more of the foods I am not currently eating or not eating enough of. One of my first dishes was a open faced sandwich that features mushrooms as the star.
Mushroom are fungi, biologically distinct from plant, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein and have a unique nutritional profile. According to Mary Jo Feeney, MS, RDN, FADA, FAND, Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, and Peter Roupas, PhD whom in their research found that the nutrient contribution of an 84-g (3 oz fresh) portion of packaged white button mushrooms contains not only nutrients commonly found in produce, but also nutrients found in meats and grains. There are more than 2000 varieties of know edible mushrooms. Some of the most familiar are shiitake, straw, oyster, and enoki morels and chanterelles. This means that the possibilities to explore new or familiar dishes using mushrooms is infinite.
Like all produce mushroom are seasonal and are best purchased and eaten in season but dried mushroom have a fairly long shelf life and can be used in many ways. In the past I had a less of an affection for mushrooms due to my limited exposure. My Jamaican parents did not see the value of mushroom then as I do now. I had to first taste of mushroom when I order chicken marsala and it has been love every since. Now I have started experimenting with the umami characteristics of mushrooms. I grounded up some dried porcini mushrooms to create a mushroom powder. I have been adding the mushroom powder to various dishes to create a umami sensation. For example, I recently made a udon bowl and added mushroom powder to broth to give a depth of flavor.
So the next time you decided to do a “Meatless Monday” give mushrooms a try. You won’t be disappointed. Mushrooms can help you to eat well and share the best part of your life.