Mushrooms grow in an amazing variety all around the world. Some are edible, many are poisonous.
The common white mushroom is derived from a natural mutation discovered by a Pennsylvannia farmer in 1926.
How much does a mushroom weigh?
|Common White/Crimini (brown-Italian)|
|Shiitake/Pyogo – Dried|
Dried Shiitakes can last for up to one year.
Rinse well, then soak in hot water for at least 30 minutes. The soaking water can be strained and used to add flavor to a stock.
Before using tear off and discard tough woody stem. Discarded stems can be used to flavor stocks.
Substitutes: crimini mushrooms OR enoki mushrooms OR straw mushrooms OR chanterelles OR porcini mushrooms OR white mushrooms OR oyster mushrooms
|Shiitake/Pyogo – Raw|
|Mushroom||Small (2 “)||8g||.3oz|
What You Need to Know about the Mushroom
The mushroom is a fleshy and edible fruiting body of a fungus. Most fungi are minute and cannot be seen by the naked eye, but mushrooms are relatively large in size and can be found growing on woods or open fields. Because they do not have the chlorophyll found in green plants, mushrooms feed on decaying organisms in order to survive.
There are plenty of mushrooms in the world. Some are edible and some are poisonous. However, the word “mushroom” originally referred to the cultivated species called Agaricus bisporus which is widely used in many cuisines today.
Do you know that the mushroom used to have a bad reputation before it earned the popularity it enjoys today? Continue reading this article to read about the interesting history of the mushroom and its popular uses today.
The mushroom is grown in many parts of the ancient world. About 4,600 years ago, the Egyptians considered the mushroom as a plant of immortality and only Pharaohs could eat them. Even the Romans thought the mushroom is the food of the gods! The Chinese and Japanese, on the other hand, used the mushroom for its medicinal properties for thousands of years.
Not all species of the mushroom are edible. Some are poisonous and some can even cause death. This is the reason why many myths surrounded the mushroom and discouraged many from cultivating this kind of fungus. The first cultivation of edible mushroom in Western cultures was recorded to start only in 1650. The first species to be cultivated was the Agaricus bisporus.
In 1885, the method for cultivating mushrooms was brought to America by the Europeans, and in 1905, the Americans perfected a method for growing spawns from the mushroom tissue, paving the way for the industrialization of the mushroom.
Where It is Grown
The mushroom grows in almost all places in the world as long as it is planted in a dark, cool, and humid environment. It needs substances like sawdust or wood chips in order to flourish. On a global scale production, the largest producers of the mushroom are China, Italy, and the United States.
The mushroom is an excellent source of protein, B-vitamins (such as riboflavin, B-6 and B-12), minerals, and antioxidants (such as selenium, vitamin C, and choline). A cup of whole, raw mushroom contains:
- Calories: 21.1
- Protein: 3 g
- Carbohydrate: 3.1 g
- Sugar: 1.9 g
- Calcium: 2.9 mg
- Iron: 0.5 mg
- Magnesium: 8.6 mg
- Phosphorus: 82.6 mg
- Potassium: 305 mg
- Sodium: 4.8 mg
- Zinc: 0.5 mg
- Copper: 305 mcg
- Selenium: 8.9 mcg
- Vitamin C: 2 mg
- Vitamin D: 0.2 mg
- Folate: 16.3 mcg
- Choline: 16.6 mg
- Niacin: 3.5 mg
There are many species of the mushroom due to cultivation of the fungus in various cultures. Below are some of these varieties.
- Agaricus bisporus (Button Mushroom). The button mushroom is the most cultivated species which came from Europe. It comes in white and brown varieties just like the Portobello and Crimini. It has a mild flavor which makes it a great flavor-booster to whatever dish they are added to.
- Auricularia cornea (Ear Fungus Mushroom). This is one of the edible species in ancient China cultivated about 300-200 B.C. Shaped like an ear, it is mixed into stir fries and soups.
- Boletus edulis (Porcini Mushroom). Commonly called “porcino”, the Porcini mushroom has a reddish-brown cap sitting on a white stem. It is used in risottos and soups.
- Cantharellus cibarius (Chantarelle Mushroom). Known for its fan-like shape and varying colors, the Chantarelle mushroom has a fruity smell but earthy taste. It is used it stews and soups.
- Flammulina velutipes (Enoki Mushroom). The Flammulina velutipes is a small delicate mushroom cultivated on sawdust medium. It is used in soups, noodle dishes, and salads.
- Grifola frondosa (Maitake Mushroom). The Maitake mushroom is famous in China and Japan. It is used to top pizza or to substitute meat in ramen.
- Hydnum repandum (Hedgehog Mushroom). Also known as the “sweet tooth”, the hedgehog mushroom is identifiable for its yellow or orange cap. It is sautéed in butter to prepare a delicious snack.
- Hypomyces lactifluorum (Lobster Mushroom). The lobster mushroom has a bright red color and it smells and tastes like seafood. It is sautéed in white wine for a delicious snack.
- Lentinus edodes (Shitake Mushroom). This species was originally cultured in Asia. It is the most grown species in China and Japan, which is used for medicinal purposes such as immunity booster for AIDS patients.
- Pleurotus ostreatus (Oyster Mushroom). Since the 1970s, there had been attempts to cultivate new species of the mushroom. The new species grown was the Pleurotus ostreatus which was found growing on dead wood in Europe and North America. Today, this species is very common in U.S. supermarkets. It tastes subtly woody or seafood-like.
- Tremella fuciformis (Silver Ear Mushroom). This variety has been used in China as an herb and is believed to extend life expectancy, cure tuberculosis, and lower blood pressure.
- Volvariella volvacea (Paddy Straw Mushroom). It is unknown where this species came from but it may have been cultivated in Hawaii as early as 1822. It is widely used in many Southeast Asian cuisines.
The mushroom is a very useful fungus that is popularly used for cooking many cuisines such as European, Chinese, and Japanese. Other uses of the mushroom include:
- Medicinal – Some species of the mushroom are psychoactive that many native cultures around the world found useful for medicinal purposes. For instance, the “magic mushroom” has psychedelic properties that it is often used to induce spiritual experiences.
- Dyeing Wool – The mushroom can also be used to dye wool and other fibers. This fungi produces a wide array of vivid colors.
- Filtration Technology. The mushroom is used in the process called mycoremediation, which is a technology that uses fungi to lower bacterial levels in contaminated water.
- Fire Starter – Some fungi with mushroom-like features such as polypore can also be used as fire starter.