September 11, 2016
We love our mushrooms. Here in Maine, there are many varieties that grow wild, and our farmers' markets are full of them right now. Many of these mushrooms have names that are just as interesting to say as they are to look at: Chicken of the Woods, Morel, Chanterelles. They sound beautiful and taste even better. Mushrooms add incredible depth to any dish, and it makes even a simple burger seem elegant.
Mushrooms are more than just tasty bits. They are also packed with health. The Mushroom Council shares these 5 cool (we think really cool) things about mushrooms you probably don't know.
1. Mushrooms are the produce aisle’s only natural source of vitamin D, which helps build strong bones. In addition, they also provide selenium, a mineral that helps the immune system function properly, and are a good source of energy providing B vitamins.
2. Mushroom production is earth friendly. Growing mushrooms requires less water and land relative to many other crops. For example, Phillips Mushrooms Farms, one of the nation’s largest mushroom producers, grows more than 45 million pounds annually on less than 50 acres.
3. Restaurants and school cafeterias are making burgers healthier by blending finely chopped mushrooms into the burgers, cutting sodium and fat without sacrificing flavor, thanks to mushrooms’ inherent umami. In fact, 15 percent of all K-12 public schools are serving “Blended Burgers” featuring an approximately 30/70 mushroom/meat ratio. This summer, 349 restaurants created their own Blended Burger in a “Blended Burger Project™” competition presented by the James Beard Foundation.
4. Mushrooms are neither vegetable or fruit, they are in their own kingdom: fungi. Mushrooms provide many of the nutritional qualities of produce, as well as attributes more commonly found in meat, beans and grains. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, and very low in sodium.
5. U.S. growers shipped nearly 800 million pounds of fresh mushrooms in 2015, according to Mushroom Council data. The most popular varieties are White Button, Maitake, Oyster, Crimini, Shiitake, Beech, Portabella, and Enoki.
Try some of these delicious mushroom recipes: