If you’re anything like myself, you spent most of your younger years only seeing the small, soggy, damp brown mushrooms that come on pizza or out of a can. I, personally, found them extremely unappealing and proceeded to write off all mushrooms as ‘gross’ based on just that one experience, as most young kids do. I remember sighing wistfully as I complained to my partner about how ‘mushrooms look so amazing but taste so gross’ after finding a couple of local specimens. On the way home, he swung into the grocery store and gathered up some fresh mushrooms, and spent the next several hours concocting the absolute best stock I’ve had in my entire life. It opened my eyes to the possibilities and, needless to say, I was hooked.
Mushrooms as medicine
Mushrooms have been utilized as far back as 450 BCE, where the Greeks used them as anti-inflammatories and for cauterizing wounds. They’ve been used in tea, as a powder, a salve, and as part of a healthy diet for centuries and as science continues to unlock the secrets of the mushroom we keep finding out more and more that they should be a part of our daily diets whenever possible.
Mushrooms provide a handful of essential nutrients such as:
- Beta glucan
- B Vitamins
Different ways to cook mushrooms
1. Stuff them:
Cremini mushrooms are some of the most commonly found mushrooms in the produce section, and they can be hollowed out with one swift movement as you remove the stem. The cap acts as a cup and can be stuffed full of anything you can imagine. Cheeses, meats, sauces, and other veggies. Serve them to guests or make them for a small get-together, the options are endless.
2. As a meat replacement:
It never harmed anyone to have a Meatless Monday, especially if you use mushrooms to help fill you up. Portobello mushroom caps are thick and meaty and can be marinated, grilled, and sliced similarly to a steak. Pierce them with skewers and toss them on the grill. Chop up a bunch of mushrooms (any type will do) and you can bulk up any pasta dish.
3. As a side dish:
The most common way to incorporate mushrooms is to start by using them as a side, especially if you aren’t ready to use them in place of meat. Mushrooms lend well to pretty much every preparation so you can find a way to slip them into practically anything. Make a mushroom risotto, roast them with other veggies or just saute them with garlic and white wine and let them shine on their own.
Finding quality mushrooms is key, and many people struggle to find a wide range of mushroom options in their local grocery store, which is why many companies are putting out ‘Grow Your Own’ mushroom kits. One such company is Out Grow, which supplies more than 12 different ready-to-grow kits that are easy for anyone to grow. Try out exotic mushrooms from the comfort of your own home, it’s easier than you think!