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Sharp Health News

Mushrooms: your favorite fungi (infographic)

April 11, 2017

Gnomes and fairies call them "home," but we call mushrooms ... delicious! From topping cheesy pizzas to boiling up in broth, these funny-looking fungi can transform a recipe. But with so many varieties, how do you choose? Tracey Grant, a wellness program manager with Sharp Rees-Stealy's Center for Health Management, matches 10 heavy-hitters to their perfect meal.

Mushrooms: your favorite fungi (infographic). Mushrooms: your favorite fungi. Some are mini, some are meaty. Some are mild, some are stinky. But no matter the variety, mushrooms can make over your meal. Mushrooms support the immune system as an excellent source of beta-glucans. High in antioxidants, they can help prevent chronic disease and cancer and they’re one of the few food sources of vitamin D. Some vitamins and minerals are reduced with cooking – especially boiling. Your best bet is to consume a mix of raw and cooked mushrooms. Dried mushrooms retain their nutrients, and are a great option when mushrooms are out of season. Mushrooms are a unique food that are packed with nutrients, says Tracey Grant, registered dietician and wellness program manager with Sharp Rees-Stealy. My favorite way to prepare them is to simply sauté in a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. If I’m lucky enough to have leftovers, they’re also delicious in eggs the next morning. Types and traits. The portobello mushroom is dense, rich and common in Italian cooking. Try it as a meat substitute, such as in a burger. Cremini mushrooms are immature portobellos that are firm with a deep flavor. Try them in stews and soups, as they hold up well in liquid. The oyster mushroom is trumpet-shaped with a mild, peppery flavor. Try it in Japanese and Chinese dishes, such as soups. The shiitake mushroom is smoky-flavored with a curly, umbrella-like cap. Try it with ginger or garlic dishes, such as stir-fries. White mushrooms are firm and ranging in size, with a mild delicate flavor. Try them de-stemmed and stuffed as an appetizer. Chanterelle mushrooms are funnel-shaped and wrinkled with the fruity aroma. Try them in European cuisine, like French sauces or fricassee. Morel mushrooms are hollow, rubbery and brittle with a sponge-like look. Thy them as the star of the meal – sautéed, grilled or pan-fried. The enoki mushroom is tiny-capped with long stems and a crunchy texture. Try it in broth-based soups, such as miso. Porcino mushrooms are dense-capped with a large stem and nutty flavor. Try them in Italian meals, such as pastas or risottos. Maitake mushrooms are earthy and spicy with a semi-firm, feathery texture. Try them with foods the maitake can absorb, like garlic sauces. Some mushrooms are toxic, so never consume a picked mushroom until you’ve consulted with an expert. And as a naturally porous food, they can absorb chemicals from the soil they’re grown in.

View the printable version of this infographic.

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