Food for Thought: Introducing Mushrooms
These fun guys (see what I did there?) come in many varieties. They have a certain reputation for sometimes being poisonous and there are types that can cause hallucinations (which is exactly what some people are after when they seek out mushrooms). I am focusing solely on the safe, non-hallucination type. Sorry to disappoint!
A few types of edible mushrooms include chanterelle, morel, button, portobello, and shiitake (I saved the most fun to say for last). With so many to choose from, even the picky eaters might be able to find at least one kind they like; although, some people I know that do not like mushrooms insist that their complaint is with the texture, not the flavor.
Talk with Your Mouth Full: The Mushroom Debate
There isn’t much of a debate here! Most vegetables (in this case, fungi) are considered healthy. However, there are still those who would rather not keep these stocked in the fridge. Most of the cons relate to food safety.
+Mushrooms are Accessible
There are so many choices with mushrooms; if you don’t like one, try a different one! They’re affordable and packaged in bulk.
+Mushrooms Fit Anywhere
These guys go with the flow. They work great in pasta and risotto, make excellent soups, and add a little punch to sandwiches and salads. Wherever they go, mushrooms keep dishes grounded!
+Mushrooms bring the Flavor
The very reason a lot of people don’t like them is the same reason a lot of people do; mushrooms have distinct, unique flavors. Most people describe their flavor as “earthy,” which might just be a fancy way of saying that something tastes like dirt. Not very appetizing, unless you find that you like the taste of dirt. I prefer to tell people that mushrooms add depth to a dish. They have an umami flavor that tingles all your tongue’s taste buds at once. Of course, I already like mushrooms, but I definitely think that umami is a better description for anyone new to mushrooms than to call them earthy. Plus, it’s fun to say umami!
+Mushrooms are Plants
Why is this a pro? Because all of us, even if we’re not vegetarians or vegans, could probably stand to add a few more plants to the plate. If you’re jazzing things up in the kitchen with mushrooms, then rejoice! You’ve accomplished getting some more plants into your diet and that is a good thing.
For vegetarians and vegans out there, this food is for you too! Feel free to have any and all of your friends over for dinner if mushrooms are on the menu.
-Mushrooms Feel Funny
Some people complain that mushrooms are slimy or chewy or even mushy. It’s true that they need a lot of love in the kitchen to keep their consistency from becoming unappetizing. This makes them a little high maintenance.
-Mushrooms Can be Poisonous
Yes, the mushroom can turn on you. If undercooked or improperly prepared, they can cause stomach problems that might make you visit the bathroom more times in a given day than you’d like. People who mushroom pick need to be extra careful not to pick the poison ones.
-When Good Mushrooms Go Bad…
Many fruits and vegetables give off obvious signs that they’ve rotted – usually smells. Mushrooms are trickier. They’re already a brownish color to begin with and often have spots or wrinkles naturally, so figuring out when they’ve passed their prime requires added attention.
The Secret Ingredient: Mushrooms as a Remedy
There are multiple B vitamins found in mushrooms, such as thiamine and riboflavin. The B vitamins help the body extract energy from food.
There’s this choline again! First, we saw it was contained in eggs and now mushrooms have jumped on the choline bandwagon. In addition to other benefits, choline is believed to help with learning and sleep.
Mushrooms have an abundance of this nifty nutrient. Not only is vitamin D an important mood-booster, but several studies have shown a link between low levels of vitamin D and low thyroid function. More vitamin D takes care of two things at once!
Will mushrooms prove to be magic? Again, I just mean in food…
Come back this Friday for The Findings!
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