By Mickey Z., Planet Green
Sure, they’re fungus. But all that potassium and selenium and B vitamins sure brings out the positive side of fungus. Mushrooms are delicious, loaded with nutrients, and serve as a low footprint meat substitute.
To cover all the bases about mushrooms would require a book, not a post. There are an estimated 14,000 types of mushrooms. Roughly 3,000 are edible and 700 have known medicinal properties. Also, fewer than one percent are recognized as poisonous (be careful if you’re foraging!). For our purposes, we’re going to avoid the poison and simply focus on the ten types of mushrooms (organic, of course) you’re most likely to encounter at your local grocery store or farmers’ market (or from growing your own).
10 Magic Mushrooms
1. Button Mushroom: Sometimes called a “white mushroom,” this is the most widely cultivated, harvested, and distributed mushroom in the world. Try it in this Golden Potato and Mushroom Gratin Recipe.
2. Chanterelle Mushroom: Golden in color and fleshy with a crisp, firm texture. Perfect with potatoes and shallots in a red wine sauce. In Season: Just about any time except for late spring into early summer.
3. Enoki Mushroom : Extremely popular in Asia, enoki have a mild flavor…some say “fruity.” Ideal for pan-frying with tofu.
4. Maitake Mushroom : Its name means “dance mushroom” and the maitake does indeed do a dance between its edible appeal and its sought-after medicinal uses (e.g. immune boosting). Stir-fry it with asparagus.
5. Morel Mushroom: Considered a “gourmet” mushroom (usually with a price to match), the morel contains a small amount of toxins and should not be eaten raw. Cook them Indian-style, with peas. In Season: The morel season for most of the United States typically runs from early-to-mid April on through mid-June.
Next: 5 More Magic Mushrooms