Mushrooms are a great way to add a burst of flavor and variety to your meals, while simultaneously providing a healthy boost.
Popular Mushroom Varieties
These are the most popular mushroom consumed in the U.S. Their mild flavor makes them very versatile.
These mushrooms have a deeper and more flavorful profile than the white button, and you may also see them labeled as Baby Bellas. Cremini mushrooms serve as an excellent addition to both meat and vegetable dishes.
Portabellas are a larger relative of crimini mushrooms, with caps up to 6 inches in diameter. Their flavors are deep and meat-like, trying cooking or ordering a Portabella Mushroom Burger.
These mushrooms are darker in color and have large umbrella-shaped caps and curved stems that should be removed. Shiitake mushrooms have a meaty, rich flavor.
These mushrooms come in various colors, including tan, yellow, and pink. They have a velvety texture and unique, delicate flavor.
Vitamin D and Mushrooms
Mushrooms vary in their vitamin D content. Exposing them to UV light during growth and processing significantly increases their vitamin D content. If purchasing packaged mushrooms, look at the label to check the amount of vitamin D.
Use, Selection, and Storage
Cultivated mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked, and they can be added to soups, salads, sauces, or sautéed and served with meats or side dishes.
- When selecting mushrooms, look for younger mushrooms that are small to medium in size. The caps should close around the stem, or be moderately open. Avoid overripe mushrooms with wide-open caps and dark, discolored gills. Select mushrooms that are firm with a smooth appearance.
- Store mushrooms in their original packaging, or in a porous paper bag in the refrigerator. Fresh mushrooms should not be frozen, but sautéed mushrooms can freeze well.
- To clean mushrooms, brush off any dirt and moss with a damp paper towel, or rinse them under running water and dry with a paper towel. If the stem is very tough, trim the end before eating.
Mushrooms are a versatile, flavorful, and nutritious addition to meals. Be creative and experiment with new ways to add mushrooms to your diet!
Did You Know?
Mushrooms can be blended together with meat due to their taste and meat-like texture when cooked. Blending mushrooms with meat also reduces calorie and fat intake, extends portion sizes, and can enhance the flavor of the dish.
Chop your favorite mushrooms to the same consistency as ground meat. Blend them with the ground meat, and then cook your blend to complete the recipe.
Many mushrooms are significantly poisonous. If you choose to forage for mushrooms in the wild, go with an expert who can identify edible types of wild mushrooms. Otherwise, your safest option is to stick with cultivated mushrooms sold in grocery stores and farmers’ markets.