A weekend ago, I was planning on attending a talk on medicinal mushroom use at the NH Mushroom Company in Tamworth, NH. Unfortunately, I broke my leg hiking and was unable to make it. Instead, I opted to search the good ol’ internet and research some interesting facts about mushrooms for this week’s post.
First off, mushrooms are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, and vitamin B. They also produce their own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, just like us!
If you happen to be foraging for wild mushrooms, look for certain tree types. Different types grow on different trees and will be easier to find that way, But NEVER eat a mushroom unless you are sure of it’s variety. Edible mushrooms can be easily confused with the poisonous ones.
However, farmed mushrooms (like the ones at the farmer’s market) are cultivated on sawdust in sterilized grow rooms. Varieties such as oyster, shittake, and bear’s head are often sold at the Winter’s Farmers Market by vendors such as Vernon Family Farm, the NH Mushroom Company, and Hollister Family Farm.
And my favorite fact of the day, the largest living organism in the world is actually a mushroom. This “humongous fungus” covers 2,385 acres of Malheur National Forest in Oregon. It may also be the oldest organism on the planet and is estimated to be between 2,400 and 8,650 years old.
Overall mushrooms are a versatile and healthy ingredient to add to any dish and are a great meat substitute for vegetarians. Some of my favorites include this recipe for Sundried Tomato Pesto Portobello Burgers (you can opt out of using the hemp seeds), or the recipe below for Wild Mushroom Sauce!
Wild Mushroom Sauce
Adapted from The Vegetarian Bible 6 to 8 servings
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 ounces shittake mushrooms, sliced
- 6 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 ½ cups sliced green onions
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon minced parsley
- ½ teaspoon of salt
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, green onions, basil, and thyme; cook and stir 10 to 15 minutes or until mushrooms brown and liquid evaporates. Add 2 ¾ cups broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, 10 to 12 minutes or until broth is reduced by one third.
Sir cornstarch into remaining ¼ cup broth in small cup until smooth. Add to mushroom mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in parsley and salt.
Serve over Cheese Ravioli!