Also known as toadstools, this spore-bearing non-vegetable is usually produced on soil, or atop its food source (such as non-living organic matter like dead trees). Mushrooms are reflected to be in a family of their own and are not considered to be vegetables or plants because they acquire their nutrition through metabolizing the organic matter around them, and they do not hold any chlorophyll like most plants.
There are currently over 10,000 different species of mushrooms around the world, with hundreds of varied uses. Edible mushrooms are used for cooking soups, sauces, and my favorite – gravy. Medicinal mushrooms have many healing effects that are used in teas and antibiotics, such as penicillin. Some species of mushrooms even glow in that dark! I would not recommend eating these. Did you know that mushrooms’ DNA is very similar to that of a … human? I could go on for a whole day discussing all types of crazy facts regarding these fungi.
But let’s get down to what is important: the mushrooms that we eat! The most common being Button, Portobello, and White mushrooms, all of which are actually in the same family, just at a different stage of maturity. The Shiitake, Maitake, and Cremini mushrooms are known for being very tasty and having extraordinary medicinal values. Then we have our very rare, exotic fungi such as Morels, Truffles, and the Black Trumpets being the rarest and, in my opinion, the best tasting.
With literally countless recipes to use with this ingredient, I cannot stress enough how important it is to thoroughly clean your mushrooms before using in any way. Easily pop off the stalk of the mushroom, and then you can simply soak in cold water and rinse with a soft scrub. Be sure to rinse underneath the “cap” of the mushrooms to get a good wash of the “gills” (the ribs that are underneath the cap). For sauces and gravies, I recommend peeling off the skin around the cap of the mushroom. This can certainly be done by hand, or my preferred method would be to use a paring knife. Then, just finish with a quick rinse with cold water.
With endless recipes and countless methods of cooking for mushrooms, I still get the feeling that these tasty toadstools are at the bottom of most foodies list of favorites to eat. Well, there’s a lot more to the edible mushrooms than meets the eye. The medicinal values that range from managing stress to treatments for cancer, and the nutritional facts, such as a single Portabella mushroom holds more potassium than a banana! Adding other ingredients that contain amino acid profiles will produce a more complete protein source and improve the quality of some limiting diets. This ingredient is truly known as the “meat” of the vegetarian cuisine.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss new ingredients, you can always feel free to chat with me! I love to work with any ingredients that I can get my hands on and have explored many traditional and innovative alternative methods of cooking. So even if there’s something new that you would like to explore, we can go on that culinary adventure together! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kyle is a graduate of the culinary arts from Le Cordon Bleu. With almost 10 years of experience in the culinary industry, Kyle has trained in almost every technique of cooking from Classic to Modern. Fresh ingredients will always be found exciting, no matter how mundane they are. Kyle’s goal is to spread awareness and knowledge of all the possibilities that pertain to the culinary world.