Although there are a great number of mushroom types found in the world, only a few are considered edible. This delicious and nutritious food is excellent in a good number of dishes, including stir-fries and salads. Mushrooms are not only tasty, they provide you with essential nutrients your diet needs. Mushrooms are mistaken for vegetables, but they come from the fungus family. Although they grow in soil, they do not have seeds, leaves, roots or flowers. Here’s a guide to 5 species of edible mushrooms and how they can benefit your health.
Shitake mushrooms have a rich and smoky flavor. They can improve your immune system and lower your cholesterol levels. The caps add a great deal of flavor to your dishes and are high in protein, vitamin C and iron. Trim off the stems before cooking your mushrooms. The stems of shitakes are tougher than most mushroom varieties.
Portabella mushrooms are widely used in cooking. This type is found in numerous grocery stores and health food markets. Portabellas are terrific foods if you’re on a fat free and low sodium diet. They also provide lots of fiber and potassium. Portabella mushrooms have a rich flavor that’s great in many different dishes, such as hearty stews.
This versatile mushroom is excellent for Chinese cuisine. Oyster mushrooms come in several colors that include reddish brown and yellow. You’ll find them in the produce section of grocery stores. You should also add oyster mushrooms toward the end of cooking a dish. It doesn’t take long for these mushrooms to cook. Nutrients in oyster mushrooms are vitamin D, protein, fiber and riboflavin.
Enoki mushrooms are used in Japanese cooking as a main ingredient. You can add them to stir-fry dishes for a great tasting meal. Enoki mushrooms can be found at Asian stores either in cans or fresh. The fresh variety should be eaten as soon as possible to avoid mold. Enoki is also eaten for its health benefits. The Japanese consider this mushroom excellent for preventing cancers in the body.
5. White Button Mushrooms
You can find white button mushrooms in stores all over the United States. This popular variety is well known for its versatile cooking abilities. It’s a great addition to salads, pasta dishes and stir-fries.
Preparing Mushrooms for Cooking
It’s best to use as little water as possible when you prepare any type of mushroom for cooking. Simply wipe them off with a damp cloth or paper towel. Washing or soaking them in water makes mushrooms soggy. Also keep the stem on the mushroom if possible. This part of the mushroom is just as nutritious as the cap. If the stem is too tough for eating, then cut it into thin slices. These thin slices are good in stews. Cooked mushrooms do not lose any of their nutrients.
You should not eat mushrooms that grow in the wild. Wild mushrooms, or toadstools, may have toxins that could harm or kill you. Always consume store-bought mushrooms. These are considered edible and non-toxic.