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Versatile, delicious and healthy, add mushrooms to your next meal.

Mighty Mushrooms

– Caley Walsh

Versatile, delicious and healthy, add mushrooms to your next meal.

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Every time my family ordered pizza when I was a kid, my dad would find some way to sneak mushrooms onto a corner of that pizza, possibly tucked under a layer of cheese per special instruction to the pizza parlor. He loved them but I was stubbornly convinced that a single mushroom would ruin the entire pizza. Now that I'm older and have developed a more refined palate (ok fine, I still love Cinnamon Toast Crunch), I've come to understand how just special mushrooms are in the world of cuisine. They provide an extraordinary variety of texture and flavors which seem to adapt to any kind of dish. And, as a bit of icing on the cake, I've learned how mushrooms are truly wonderful for your health. Consider this my ode to the mushroom.

Health Benefits

When it comes to health, edible mushrooms are a right up there with other super-foods green tea and broccoli. After all, the first antibiotics were extracted from fungi. Being 80-90% water, mushrooms are low in calories, while still being high in fiber. They are fat-free, cholesterol-free, and low in sodium (especially good for those on a hypertensive diet). Here are some other reasons to sneak more mushrooms into your cooking:

White mushrooms actually range in color from white to light brown, and come in many different sizes. The smaller varieties of white mushrooms are called button mushrooms and are easily the most popular mushroom in cooking, found in most grocery stores. Freshly picked white mushrooms have a mild or delicate flavor. As the caps darken, they develop a richer taste.

Recent studies have shown that white mushrooms can reduce the risk of breast and prostrate cancer.

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Crimini/Cremini/Italian Brown

Crimini mushrooms are similar in appearance to white mushrooms, but are a darker color, ranging from light tan to dark brown. They have a firmer texture and a stronger, earthier flavor than white mushrooms. These make a great substitute for white mushrooms in any recipe and work especially well with beef. · Crimini mushrooms are an excellent source of selenium, which is needed for the proper function of the antioxidant system in the body. Selenium works to prevent colon cancer, arthritis, and even asthma. Crimini mushrooms are also exceptionally good as a source of zinc, a critical mineral for the immune system.

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