Mushrooms: Types, Uses and Health Benefits
Health Benefits of Mushrooms
Mushrooms have been identified as an antioxidant. Antioxidants aid in reducing disease and cancer. In addition, studies have found promising result in consuming mushrooms for improving immunity function in the body.
Nutrients in Mushrooms:
Vitamin D enriched mushrooms have been recommended as a food source for patients with osteoporosis. Mushrooms also contain selenium, which has been recorded to reduce the risk of bladder cancer. The iron in mushrooms improve the blood and the protein supports the muscular system.
Types of Mushrooms
- Wood Ears
Shiitakes have a rich beefy flavor. Shiitakes can be added to a variety of dishes such as: stir fry, soups, pizza, pastas and more. Shiitakes are usually available at international specialty food stores and Asian markets.
Portobellos are known for their large cap. They are great as burger substitutes or for filling with other ingredients. Portobellos have a rich woody flavor and meaty texture. Portobellos can be grilled or sauteed, need minimal seasoning and can be roasted with a splash of olive oil and minced garlic.
Creminis are small brown mushrooms and have a slightly heavier flavor when compared to the standard white button mushroom sold in most supermarkets. Creminis are best roasted, sauteed, creamed in sauces or in dishes such as pilaf.
These whimsical mushrooms have thin stems. Enokis are usually expensive and appear as if they belong on a movie set or fairy tale book. Mild in flavor, enokis are used minimally and make a nice garnish, served raw over the main entrée or as a soup topper.
Morels: This particular mushroom is regional to the Pacific Northwest. They are known for their nutty and meaty flavor. Morels are perfect for vegetable dishes with peas, asparagus or new potatoes.
Wood ear mushrooms grow on trees and logs. Their name comes from their uncanny and somewhat humorous resemblance to human ears. The texture of wood ears is slightly crunchy and do not have a heavy flavor. They are perfect for soaking up the variety of flavors used in dishes and complement the food. Wood ears are commonly used in soups and pastas.
This particular variety is not necessarily considered an actual mushroom, but is commonly sold and grouped with other mushrooms. Truffles are usually found underground in the farmland regions of Italy and France. Truffles are difficult to find and are usually located with the assitance of dogs and pigs. This make truffles incredibly expensive. A potential substitute is truffle infused olive oil, commonly imported from Italy.
Truffles complement warm salads; alongside cheese and whole grains.
Fact: Truffles begin to immediately rot when touched by human hands.
Porcini mushrooms are usually dried. Porcinis are also known as king boletes or cepes in some regions of the world. Porcinis have an alluring flavor and beautifully compliment wine based sauces. Porcini mushrooms are perfect for sauces and pasta dishes.
Chanterelles are golden in color. Their flavor is somewhat fruity and woodsy. They are often compared to apricots. Chanterelles can be lightly sauteed in garlic and butter and topped with parmesan cheese. Serve alongside beef or over pasta.
© 2012 Marisa Hammond Olivares
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