I used to HATE mushrooms, like, there was no amount of money in the world you could possibly pay me, to get me to put a mushroom in my mouth willingly. I mean, why would I want to eat fungus?? Then one day, back when I was waiting tables, a kitchen error resulted in me finally trying them- but then again, you can fry just about anything & smother it in ranch, & make it delicious, am I right? And so began my journey to loving mushrooms. As time went on, I got braver & started trying them in different foods & different ways- fried & in Chinese stir-fries are definitely my favorites!
Recently, I happened upon some interesting facts regarding the health benefits of mushrooms, & was really blown away by how beneficial this little fungi is for our bodies! The only item in the produce aisle that’ll give you a vitamin D boost, mushrooms are also low calorie, fat free, cholesterol free, gluten free, very low in sodium, & also contain B vitamins, selenium, antioxidants, & potassium. WHOA! That’s a big dose of good-for-you in a tiny package!
I decided that I needed to share my new love of mushrooms with my little men, & since Desmond has been having a great time learning to cook, I tasked him with finding a recipe that included mushrooms, & planning a dinner that included his chosen recipe. He was all too excited! He chose this Mushroom & Ricotta Bruschetta recipe & got to work while I looked up & shared more fun facts about mushrooms with him & Elias. For example, did you know that the red & white mushroom in the Super Mario games is based on a real mushroom, that when you eat the skin, will either make you feel really big, or make everything around you seem really big? My boys loved that one!
Back to the amazing health benefits- According to Joel Fuhrman, M.D., mushrooms have properties that strengthen our immune systems, fight respiratory infections, & also contain specialized (ABL) lectins “that recognize cancer cells, & prevent the cells from growing & dividing.” Now THAT’S something that would have been good to know back when (or long before 😉 )I had my own battle with cervical cancer! (Praise God, I only had three months of treatments, & have been cancer free for over a year!!) Dr. Fuhrman does warn that raw mushrooms contain agaritine, which is a potentially carcinogenic substance, so be cautious about tossing them into your salads!
More benefits of eating mushrooms include relief of hypertension, improved gastrointestinal health, & diabetes prevention, according to besthealth.guide, along with improving bone health, boosting the immune system, encouraging collagen production (think skin & nail health), & supporting weight loss. As my brain devoured all of this information, I wondered WHY I had always been so adamant that this powerful little food was just horrible & would never eat it!
Of course, there are several kinds of mushrooms out there, & what kind you want to use will depend on the dish you are preparing. The thing about the flavor of mushrooms, is they are known for their deep, rich, “umami” (pronounced “oo mommy”) flavor, that tends to absorb the flavors of the foods they’re cooked in.
White button mushrooms are the most versatile, with a mild flavor, while crimini are similarly versatile, but have a deeper, earthier flavor. The ever popular portobello has a very meat-like texture & flavor, making it a great vegan option for meat replacements. And then there’s maitake- with a fan shape, distinct aroma, & rich, woodsy taste, & shiitake, with an umbrella cap & earthy umami flavor (also known to reduce inflammation in the intestinal wall), which are both great in Asian dishes.
Anyone who knows me, knows I try my best to eat healthy & eat foods beneficial to preventive care. Now that I’m so informed about what a super food mushrooms are, they’ve definitely moved near the top of my favorites list!!
JUST in case you were wondering, Desmond served that Mushroom & Ricotta Bruschetta, with lemon pepper chicken (from scratch, no recipe!) & a package of butter & herb pasta. It’s rather typical of my boys, to avoid vegetables when I let them choose the meal lol!
And, if you’re maybe in need of a new skillet, fryer, or wok for cooking your next mushroom recipe, you’ve got to take advantage of the free shipping deal below from Target!
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-Walking by Faith, & Finding the Blessings of SuperFoods, Gerri