If you read my previous post here. You would know I’m focusing on food with little or no color…white foods. White foods are nutrient packed and should be included on your plate. With that said the next white veggie I’m focusing on is mushrooms. This little fungi carries a stronger vibe then you may think. You may view mushrooms as pedestrian, however, mushrooms are a global player.
A recent study, The Mushroom Sustainability Story: Water, Energy and Climate Environmental Metrics 20171, sought to measure how growing and harvesting mushrooms impacted the environment. They studied 21 facilities nationwide for production processes including composting, spawning, casing and pinning and harvesting. What this study found was that mushrooms have a very gentle impact on the environment. To produce one pound of mushrooms it only takes 1.8 gallons of water, 1.0 kilowatt hours of energy and generates only 0.7 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Did you know the average yield of mushrooms per year?
It is 7.1 pounds per square foot, which translate to one million pounds per acre.
How are mushrooms grown?
- They are grown indoors. Which means they aren’t weather dependent.
- Mushroom spawn is mixed with compost containing organic material
- This is spread over hundreds of beds
- A casing containing peat moss is spread over the beds to hold on to moisture.
- During the pinning stage, mushroom pins grow through the casing.
- In 16-35 days mushrooms are harvested by hand.
Mushrooms can be included in your breakfast, lunch or dinner. They add a savory flavor to your favorite dishes. You can have mushrooms with your eggs, a blended burger for lunch or mushroom fajitas for dinner.
You may have asked yourself what is a blended burger?
If you haven’t seen the frenzy about it on social media, here is a brief explanation from the Mushroom Council.
- Chop up your favorite mushroom variety to match the consistency of the ground meat in the recipe.
- Cook and season mushrooms the same way you would meat.
- Combine the cooked meat and mushrooms and use the mix to complete your recipe.
When cooked mushrooms give a meaty flavor so blending them with ground meat works perfectly.
Here is one of my blended recipes. It is a surf and turf meatball appetizer.
Why are mushrooms good for you??
Mushrooms have naturally occurring vitamin D but not enough to keep your body happy. However mushrooms that are exposed to UV light during their growing cycle have an increase in their vitamin D levels!!
Studies show that consuming 2000IU from white buttons mushrooms raised vitamin D levels in humans. 3
Do all varieties have the same level of vitamin D?
The mushroom varieties when exposed to UV light produce the following amounts of vitamin D
- Crimini (brown) raw (84g) 1072 IU
- Portabella mushrooms raw (84g) 953IU
- Maitake raw (84g) 943 IU
- White raw (84g) 879 IU
- The recommended daily allowance is 600 IU
Mushrooms are nutrient packed. They have selenium (antioxidant), potassium (blood pressure, nerve and muscle function), B vitamins (nerve health, support metabolism) which include pantothenic acid, riboflavin and niacin. They are also an excellent source of the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione.
How to store and prep mushrooms for cooking.
Mushrooms absorb water like a sponge. If you are adding them to a soup or gravy then you can rinse them otherwise clean them off with a clean cloth. The stems in portbellos and shitake mushrooms are woody. You should remove them but other varieties are tender so you can leave them in place.
The gills are edible but they may add a dark color to you dish. If this is an issue then you can gently remove them with a spoon.
The best way to store mushrooms is to remove them from the package, wrap in a paper towel and place in a paper bag.
What is your favorite way to eat mushrooms? Let me know in the comments below.
Health & Healing
- The Mushroom Sustainability Story: Water, Energy and Climate Environmental Metrics 2017. https://www.mushroomcouncil.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Mushroom-Sustainability-Story-2017.pdf
- How to Clean and Store Mushrooms: A Step-by-Step Guide. Available at https://www.foodnetwork.com/how-to/articles/how-to-clean-and-store-mushrooms-a-step-by-step-guide
- Keegan, R.-J. H., Lu, Z., Bogusz, J. M., Williams, J. E., & Holick, M. F. (2013). Photobiology of vitamin D in mushrooms and its bioavailability in humans. Dermato-Endocrinology, 5(1), 165–176. http://doi.org/10.4161/derm.23321
- Kalaras MD, Richie JP, Calcagnotto A, Beelman RB. Mushrooms: A rich source of the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione. Food Chem. 2017 Oct 15;233:429-433. Doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.04.109.Epub 2017 Apr 20