Throughout history mushrooms have been regarded as magical and mysterious, a delicacy, and deadly.
Foragers put their lives on the line when hunting fungi for medicinal and culinary use. Even today, foraging for wild mushrooms should be done with an expert mycologist by your side!
Fortunately, at most local grocery stores and farmers’ markets you will find a tasty selection of mushrooms that are safe to eat.
NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF MUSHROOMS
VARIETIES OF FABULOUS FUNGI
Many mushrooms have to be foraged by hand, while others can be harvested like a small crop. This results in a difference in price. You may want to occasionally splurge for the following varieties of mushrooms.
Truffle, crown jewel of mushrooms, is one of the most expensive foods in the world. Trained dogs are required to sniff out truffles from beneath the roots of chestnut and hazel trees.
Truffles are used in exotic dishes, side dishes, soups, and dips.
Maitake is a late summer and autumn fungi found at the foot of oak trees. Best harvested when young and tender to retain their flavor.
These are wonderful for soups, sauces, and gluten-free breads.
Chanterelle mushrooms are unmistakable with their cheery yellow-gold coloring. This mushroom has a woodsy, apricot flavor.
Found only in the wild, chanterelles live in a symbiotic partnership with its host tree, allowing it to store nutrients it could not acquire on its own. Chanterelles pair nicely with eggs and over rice/other gluten-free or pseudograins.
Cremini and Porcini
Cremini (“baby bella”) and porcini mushrooms have mild flavors and medium texture. Less expensive than the others, these can be used in a variety of recipes, from gluten-free breads and muffins to sauces and stews.
Selecting & Storing Mushrooms
Mushroom selection and storage can vary by type. Generally, mushrooms should be tender but firm to touch, not wet or gummy. Organic is best.
Store unwashed mushrooms in the fridge (not the produce drawer) in a brown paper bag with the top folded over. Most mushrooms should be used within a week.
Organic Wild Mushroom Risotto
Traditionally an Autumn favorite, wild mushroom risotto can be enjoyed year-round. It’s an excellent meal on its own or can accompany a variety of entrees.
Where possible, use organic mushrooms and rice for added health benefit.
Be careful not to overseason with butter or salt, as the white wine, stock, and garlic will draw out the rich flavor of the mushrooms.
- 1 tbsp Dried Porcini mushrooms *(feel free to use a mix: Cremini, Portobello, Shiitake)
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
- 225 grams (15 tbsp) sliced Chestnut Mushrooms
- 350 grams (1.5 cups) Organic Arborio Rice
- 150 ml Dry White Wine
- 2 pints Hot Chicken Bone Broth or Vegetable Stock
- 2 tbsp Freshly Chopped Parsley
- 25 grams (1.5 tbsp) Ghee
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Dairy-Free Parmesan, to serve
- Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes.*
- Once soaked, drain the mushrooms well.
- Gently heat the oil in a large pan, and add the onion and garlic.
- Fry for 3 minutes or until the onions are softened.
- Add the chestnut mushrooms and fry for a further 3 minutes, until browned.
- Once browned, stir in the rice.
- Add the wine on a gentle heat, constantly stirring until the liquid has been absorbed.
- Allow the mixture to simmer, and slowly ladle in some of the hot bone broth or stock while stirring until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is plump.
- Chop the porcini mushrooms.
- Add the mushrooms along with the parsley, ghee, salt and pepper to the risotto mixture. Sprinkle some dairy-free parmesan over the top and serve.
* If using fresh mushrooms, in Step 1, chop and saute in olive oil until nicely browned, remove from heat and set aside. Add the mushrooms in Step 10, once the liquid has been absorbed from the risotto.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. KalenaSpire only joins affiliate programs for products that Christine believes in and sincerely endorses for quality and efficacy.
What’s your favorite variety of fabulous fungi? Share in the comments below!
Ware, Megan. “Mushrooms: Nutritional Value and Health Benefits.” Medical News Today. Posted 23 Feb 2017. Accessed 3 May 2017: http://www.mushroomharvest.com/extra_pages/slideshow.htm
Whfoods.org. “Crimini Mushrooms” Accessed 3 May 2017: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=97
PBS.org. Avey, T., “The History Kitchen: Magical Mushrooms: The Allure of Edible Fungi” posted 1 April 2014. http://www.pbs.org/food/the-history-kitchen/edible-mushrooms/
Friedman, Mendel. “Mushroom Polysaccharides: Chemistry and Antiobesity, Antidiabetes, Anticancer, and Antibiotic Properties in Cells, Rodents, and Humans.” Ed. Charles Brennan. Foods (2016) 5:4, 80. PMC. Web. 3 May 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5302426/
O’Neil C.E., Nicklas T.A., Fulgoni III V.L., “Mushroom consumption is associated with increased nutrient intakes and better diet quality in adult participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2001–2010).” FASEB J. (2013) 27, Ib350. https://www.omicsonline.org/mushroom-intake-is-associated-with-better-nutrient-intake-and-diet-quality-2155-9600.1000229.pdf
MNN.com. “Wild Mushrooms: What to eat, what to avoid.” Oder, Tom. Posted 13 Oct 2013. http://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/wild-mushrooms-what-to-eat-what-to-avoid
Epicurious.com “A visual guide to mushrooms.” Sund, E. & Astley, C. Accessed 3 May 2017: http://www.epicurious.com/archive/seasonalcooking/farmtotable/visualguidemushrooms
MushroomInfo.com Info on health benefits, research, nutrition. http://www.mushroominfo.com/benefits/