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Health Benefits of Mushrooms

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Mushroom is regarded as alternative of meat that is why it is very much consumed by vegetarians. It adds wonderful earthy flavor to savory dishes. They are edible fungi with varieties of species. Mushrooms are essentially Saprophytes, the organisms which thrive by extracting nutrients from dead and decaying plant and animal matter. They have different colors, textures, shapes and properties.

Mushroom comes with somewhat mystical connection in myth and folklore; elves and fairies sitting at the top of mushrooms. On a more practical level, many mushrooms and fungi can be poisonous or hallucinogenic so one has to have good knowledge regarding edible and poisonous species of mushroom while foraging in the forest for mushroom.

Eastern cultures have regarded the health benefits of mushroom since long time back. Mushrooms have long been consumed as a source of nutrients. Often grouped with vegetables, mushrooms provide many nutritional attributes as that is found in meat, beans or grains. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol- free, gluten-free and very low in sodium. Yet they provide important nutrients including selenium, potassium (8%), riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin D and more.

Mushroom is the only vegetable for the external source for Vitamin D that is produced by humans internally. The health benefits of the mushrooms include relief from high cholesterol levels, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes. It also helps in weight loss and increases the strength of your immune system. Vitamin D helps in calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bone and to prevent hypocalcaemia tetany. It is also needed for bone growth and bone remodeling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Mushrooms, with the load of Vitamins such as riboflavin and niacin, help in metabolism of fats and proteins.

Whatever be the favorite—crimini, enoki, oyster, portobello, shiitake or white button—all edible mushrooms are have essential nutrients. Here are some easy ways to include more mushrooms in your diet. Bake, broil, fry, grill, puree, raw, sauté, steam are some of the ways to prepare mushrooms.

  • Sauté your favorite mushrooms and add to quiches, frittatas, scrambled eggs or omelet’s for brunch. Cook any type of mushroom with onions for a quick and tasty side dish.
  • For a hearty main-dish salad idea – in a baking dish, combine a few types of mushrooms with minced garlic and a drizzle of olive oil; roast until browned.
  • Place warm mushrooms overtop salad greens, and sprinkle with Parmesan shavings and pine nuts. Drizzle with a red wine vinegar/ olive oil dressing.
  • Add raw sliced crimini mushrooms or white mushrooms to top any salad.
  • Make stuffed portabella mushrooms by filling them with your favorite ingredients and baking.

Always buy firm, dry, and unblemished mushroom. Avoid mushrooms that appear slimy or withered. Store mushrooms in the refrigerator in either plastic or paper bags and do not wash or trim them until ready for use.