Q. I’d like to include mushrooms more often in my diet, but don’t know how to do that. Do you have any tips you can share with me?
A. We have been enjoying mushrooms for over a century as they make repeat appearances in a variety of dishes like our favorite pizza or pasta dish. But mushrooms are making a comeback by being the star of show in many recipes.
Mushrooms have a slightly earthy flavor and delicate texture, giving them the ability to absorb flavors they are cooked with. They blend well into foods by combining chopped mushrooms with ground meat to make meals more delicious, nutritious and sustainable. Try adding mushrooms to dishes like burgers, tacos, meatloaf and other meals using ground beef, pork, or turkey.
Meet the mighty mushrooms
• Button: The same species as baby bellas just harvested at an immature age, button mushrooms are versatile and have small, smooth white capes and a mild flavor.
• Baby Bella: Also called cremini mushrooms, baby bellas are brown, firm and have a deeper flavor than button mushrooms.
• Portabella: With a meaty flavor and caps up to 6 inches across, portabellas can be stuffed, grilled or roasted.
• Shiitake: Loved for their strong, earthy flavor, spot shiitake mushrooms by their broad, umbrella-shaped caps.
• Dried: With their concentrated flavor, varieties of dried mushrooms work well in risotto, soups and sauces.
Power up with mushrooms
Mushrooms are naturally a good source of B vitamins, which provide energy by helping support protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Mushrooms also contain potassium, which helps control blood pressure and promotes a healthy heart.
Mushrooms are one of the few food sources of vitamin D, which plays a role in having a healthy immune system.
Mushrooms should have a smooth, firm texture and an earthy scent. Do not purchase those that look shriveled, wet or dried out, or those that smell musty.
Keep fresh mushrooms in the refrigerator (unwashed) in their original packaging or a loosely closed paper bag. Use within one week. Store dried mushrooms at room temperature.
To prep, wipe mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel just before using. Do not wash or soak fresh mushrooms in water until just before consuming. (They soak up water like a sponge, diluting their flavor in recipes).