Mushrooms Are Nature’s Geeks
Let me take you through the spectrum of the Mushroom family.
The commonly available mushroom in this part of the world is the white button mushroom: scientifically name is Agaricus bisporus in addition to Shitake, Oysters, Portobello as varieties.
I love mushrooms to bits, especially the crackling mushroom recipe prepared by my hubby which is certainly a family favorite. A great starter to any party.
Mushrooms are universally available, in various avatars, either it grows in the wild or is cultivated in farms. But it is very important to differentiate between the good edible ones vs the bad dangerous ones. And for sure those available in the supermarkets are safe for consumption:
It would be wrong to assume that wild Mushrooms are safe unless it is identified as one. If given a choice leave it to the experts – or if you are one of those adventures types and want to do your own hunting – please double check before you put anything into your body. And if you are a newbie to mushrooms, then it is better to start small: this can cause allergies in some. And the dangerous ones can cause food positioning leading to fatal accidents.
My advice would be: If you are unsure, do not eat them.
Mushrooms are the fruit bodies of underground macrofungi. A type of fungi which is visible to the naked eye grows above the ground and can be handpicked. (Though some do grow underground and some farmers use pigs or dogs to smell it out).
Certain mushrooms are difficult to cultivate, like truffles, matsutake(a Japanese variety) and more. They have a complex relationship with the environment/trees in which they grow. Every season commercials harvesters, amateur, foodies or cooks go treasure hunting in forests. Because of their complex life cycle, to date, it’s been a challenge to organize mass cultivations. And this makes them rare and an expensive variety.
Mushroom certainly is not meat – some say it is a replacement for meat for Vegetarians!!… I believe that it’s is all about one’s belief. I have some non-vegetarians friends who do not eat Mushrooms simply because they consider it to be a fungus !.
While shopping make sure to buy ones that are unblemished, firm & dry. You can tell that the mushrooms have gone bad when it develops a sticky slimy texture on the surface. That means it is near rotting. The ideal way is to store them in a cool place preferably refrigerators and wash or trim them only before cooking.
My research has brought to my attention the various health benefits :
- Like various other vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, green veggies etc, the mushroom is high in antioxidants. Vitamin D & Selenium found also benefits in preventing various kinds of Cancer. Its other properties also help in suppressing the harmful effects of excess estrogen – which is one of the causes of breast cancer.
- Leads to a healthy heart: Helps in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Mushrooms are lean proteins with no cholesterol or fat. By lowering blood pressure the chances of getting high blood pressure decreases.
- Higher intake of fibers helps in regulating both Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes. Mushrooms are the ideal low-energy, no fat, no cholesterol, high protein diet. It also contains natural enzymes which break down the sugar and starch in food.
- Selenium found in mushrooms stimulates our immune system in fighting bad cells creations and thus preventing tumors from forming. It boosts Immunity
- Improves Bone density as this is rich in calcium and treats anemia as it is a good source of iron.
- Fiber plays an important part in regulating and managing weight. The Fibers found in mushrooms helps in increasing the feeling of satiety, you remain with a feeling of fuller stomach longer and thus reducing overall calorie intake.
So, Agree, they are nature’s geek, right ?
Mushrooms are Nature’s geeks. On Google, geeks are defined as an unfashionable or socially inept person.
Well, mushroom are not that great to look at, does not fall in any definite categories of vegetables, fruits or meats. Comes in different sizes, colors, and shapes. Definitely hides in wild. Can be stepped upon if one is not careful. It can be mild or dangerous. And one needs to understand it better before engaging with them. Once you befriend, the benefits are immense.
Note: In the featured image two mushrooms have been depicted i.e. Portobello & Button Mushrooms.
Author: Margaret KM