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
6. Oyster Mushroom: This robust mushroom with, of course, an oyster-like shape, is also esteemed for its medicinal properties (e.g. cholesterol reduction). It’s dense, chewy texture will blend nicely with rice and avocados in a salad. In Season: Spring and fall.
7. Porcini Mushroom : Sometimes called the “king” of mushrooms, the porcini, or cepe, is nutty and meaty with a distinctive aroma. Puts the mushroom in mushroom ragout. In Season: August to November.
8. Portobello : Prized for its immense nutritional and medicinal properties, the mighty portobello is also a popular meat substitute. Grilling really brings out its hearty flavor.
9. Shiitake: Sami Grover will do the honors for this one: “Shiitake are a nutritious, protein rich food with an incredibly meaty texture. And given the fact that we could all do with eating less meat, anything that satisfies our craving for flesh without the death of an animal can only be a good thing.” Make shiitake one of the three mushrooms in Three-mushroom miso soup.
10. Wood Ear: Yep, wood ear mushrooms can look like ears growing out of a tree but listen up: they also may act as an anticoagulant to thin the blood. Popular in Asian cooking, this thick-skinned mushroom adds texture and flavor to a sweet and sour soup.
Best Care2 Recipes with Mushrooms:
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