Did you know that there are thousands of types of mushrooms in nature but only around 20 popular varieties? These all have a unique nutritional profile including a number of vitamins (such as B6) and minerals (such as zinc and potassium). Mushrooms are not actually plants at all but are classified as a type of fungi.
They are truly nutrition superstars with anti-inflammatory compounds including selenium and ergothioneine. When exposed to UV light, they provide some Vitamin D ️ (note – most people still need a supplement and food sources are not reliable). Some supermarkets such as Marks and Spencer offer Vitamin D fortified mushrooms but these can be expensive.
There is a long history of mushrooms as a meat replacement in Chinese culture in particular. Mushrooms were cultivated in China and Japan as early as 600CE, according to Cynthia Bertelsen in “Mushroom: A Global History.” I love their umami flavour and meaty texture. My favourite ways to enjoy them are as follows:
– Cremini mushrooms sautéed with tamari (as pictured in the cover photo by Nonie Tuxen)
– Grilled Portobello mushrooms stuffed with vegetables and olives
– Juicy shiitake mushrooms (dried and fresh) in miso noodle soup
– Wild mushroom risotto with spinach- Oyster mushrooms in stir-fries
– Cremini mushrooms diced and added into pasta sauces
– White button mushroom soup.
For maximum nutritional value, I always recommend mushrooms are lightly cooked rather than enjoyed raw.
Do you enjoy mushrooms? What is your favourite variety and how do you eat them? Let me know in the comments!