Delicious Recipe Ingredient
Many delicious recipes from all over the world such as pizza, spaghetti, salads and others use mushrooms as a tasty ingredient. This beneficial healthy food is actually a fungus that produces spores instead of seeds. Spores remain inside the cap of a mushroom while they mature and then are ejected long distances. The spores then seep into the ground or trees where they grow. Most individuals safely buy prepackaged mushrooms in cardboard containers, jars or cans at grocery stores. Only experts known as mycophagists with extensive knowledge of mushrooms should harvest wild varieties. This is because some types of mushrooms can cause allergic reactions, illness and death.
Nutritional Value of Mushrooms
Today, the most common cultivated mushroom is the white button or portobello variety. Portobello’s grow in over 70 countries where they are harvested, cleaned, packaged, canned, dried or frozen. They may be also be labeled as a brown, Italian, Roman, mini or cremini mushroom. There are vital nutrients in mushrooms such as iron, niacin, protein, riboflavin and vitamins B, C and D. Mushrooms are versatile in recipes because they can be eaten raw or cooked. They are extremely low in calories and high in fiber. Many recipes from Japan, Europe, Korea and the United States have mushrooms listed as an ingredient. Many vegetarians use mushrooms to replace meat in recipes. Each variety of mushroom has a unique flavor and texture.
Mushroom Cultivation Increases Availability
Mushrooms can grow on tree trunks or in dirt depending on their variety. Most varieties develop best in shaded areas away from direct sunlight. Mushrooms grow naturally in woods, forests and other areas. However, most mushrooms in stores have been cultivated on mushroom farms where they are cared for by specialists. There are several varieties of mushrooms that are edible and cultivated including enoki, oyster, maitake and shiitake. Mushroom cultivators must have outdoor land areas with high levels of moisture and humidity. The use of piled and stacked logs is a primary technique for cultivating mushrooms outdoors in several Asian countries. Indoor cultivation using temperature, humidity and light control with the use of plant tray devices is most common in the United States.
Medical Importance of Mushrooms
Medical researchers are studying mushroom varieties that may assist the immune system to resist cancer, inflammation and other health conditions. In addition, mushrooms reduce blood sugar levels making it an important dietary ingredient for diabetics. Studies reveal that mushrooms in recipes also regulate triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure. The reishi or lingzhi mushroom variety contains highly prized medicinal properties in East Asia. At one time, a small amount of lingzhi or reishi mushrooms was worth thousands of dollars. This variety of mushroom grows wild at the base of maple trees in several geographic regions around the world. Today, these mushroom varieties are also cultivated indoors and outdoors. Physicians who use traditional Asian medicine usually steep a hot tea for several hours with chopped lingzhi mushrooms to treat health conditions such as tumors and cancer.