Mushrooms are a delicious additive to many dishes and provide a punch of healthy nutrients. They have been used in other countries for thousands of years in the medical world. Just recently, the United States has started using mushrooms as an advancement in medicine. So what are the health benefits of mushrooms? How do we store them and most importantly is it okay to eat the slimy ones? Here’s the answers to your most pressing questions about mushrooms.
Why to Eat Them:
As mentioned above, countries have been using mushrooms medically to help boost immunity and fight disease such as cancer. Many compounds in mushrooms have been found to stimulate the immune system, boost intestinal flora and inhibit tumor growth. Part of the benefit stems from the terpenoids which help kill viruses and bacteria as well as provide anti-inflammatory effects.
Many varieties of mushrooms are full of nutrients like copper, vitamin E and potassium as well as niacin and selenium. Just one cup of crimini mushrooms provides an excellent source of 15 different vitamins, minerals and antioxidant phytonutrients. These vitamins, minerals and antioxidant have many benefits including;
- Immune System Support
- Anti-inflammatory Benefits
- Antioxidant Benefits
- Cardiovascular Health
- Anti-cancer Properties
How to Store Them:
Storing mushrooms properly helps to enhance the health benefits. The color is a great indicator of nutrient content A discolored mushroom relates to a loss in nutrients. Discoloration is more frequent when mushrooms are left at or near room temperature. The best way to prevent nutrient loss and longer lasting, tastier mushrooms is to simply store them in the refrigerator with reduced exposure to temperatures above 40 degrees.
Also, keep them in a loosely closed paper bag wrapped in a damp cloth or laid out in a glass dish that is covered with a moist cloth. Either way, try avoid leaving them all stacked in one big clump. The less surface contact they have with one another the fresher they will stay. Look for mushrooms that are firm, plump, and clean in color. Avoid those that are wrinkled or have slimy spots.
How to Cook Them:
Mushrooms are so porous that if they are exposed to too much water they will quickly absorb it and become soggy. Therefore, the best way to clean a mushroom without sacrificing texture and taste is to clean them using minimal, if any water. Simply wipe them with a damp towel or cloth.
Then add them to your favorite dish, use as a “bun,” stuff them or simply caramelize in butter and garlic. Mushrooms are a diverse food with loads of flavor and even more nutrients.
Here are my favorite ways to eat them.
- Caprese Stuffed Mushrooms
- Portobello Sliders
- Pizza Stuffed Peppers
- Beef and Bok Choy Stir Fry
- Philly Cheesesteak salad
- Healthy Pan Fried Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Asparagus Sauce
- Egg and Sweet Potato Leftover Scramble
- Personalized Frittatas
- Pizza Soup
If you aren’t sure about a mushroom, DO NOT eat it! While most are safe there are a few poisonous ones out there.