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CHARACTERISTIC Mushrooms are a fascinating food with a rich history, diverse flavors and a wide range of nutritional benefits. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at some fun mushroom facts that you might not know before. So we’re sharing a delicious mushroom recipe to take your Taco Tuesday to the next level!
10 curiosities about mushrooms
Fungi are not plants, but rather belong to their own distinct group of organisms known as fungi. They have no roots, leaves or seeds and rely on other organisms for nutrients.
There are over 14,000 known species of mushrooms and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. From the familiar white mushroom to the exotic shiitake and portobello varieties, there’s a mushroom for every taste.
Mushrooms are a great source of nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin D, and minerals like selenium and copper. They’re also low in calories and fat, making them a healthy addition to any diet.
Mushrooms have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries and recent research suggests they may have a variety of health benefits. Studies have shown that certain compounds in mushrooms may have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and immune-boosting properties.
The largest living organism on Earth is a fungus. The honey mushroom, which grows in Oregon’s Blue Mountains, covers an area of more than 2,200 acres and is estimated to be more than 2,400 years old.
Mushrooms have played an important role in many cultures throughout history. In ancient Egypt, they were considered a food of the gods and were only consumed by royalty. In China, mushrooms have been used as both food and medicine for thousands of years.
Some mushrooms have psychedelic properties and are used recreationally for their hallucinogenic effects. However, these mushrooms are illegal in many parts of the world and can be dangerous if consumed improperly.
Mushrooms can grow incredibly fast. Under the right conditions, some species can grow to full size in a matter of days.
Mushrooms have a unique flavor profile that can range from earthy and salty to sweet and nutty. This makes them a versatile ingredient that can be used in a range of dishes, from soups and stews to pasta and pizza.
Mushrooms are a sustainable food source that can be grown using minimal resources. They’re also a great way to reduce food waste, as they can be grown on organic waste materials like straw and sawdust.
Frequently Asked Questions about Mushrooms
Are mushrooms vegetables?
While fungi are classified as a vegetable, fungi are not technically a vegetable, as they belong to the kingdom of fungi. While they’re often grouped with vegetables in the culinary world and can be used in similar ways, they have some unique characteristics that set them apart from traditional vegetables.
One key difference is that mushrooms don’t have leaves, roots, or seeds like most vegetables. Instead, they reproduce through spores and grow from mycelium, which is a web-like network of cells that exists underground or within the fungus itself.
That said, mushrooms are still a nutritious and versatile ingredient that can be a valuable part of a healthy diet. They are low in calories, high in fiber and high in a variety of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, potassium and selenium.
Are mushrooms vegan?
Yes, mushrooms are generally considered vegan as they are a plant-based food and do not come from animals. While not technically plant-based, they are still suitable for vegan diets as they contain no animal products or by-products.
It’s worth noting that some mushroom varieties, such as portobello mushrooms, can have a meaty texture and flavor that may be appealing to vegans looking for a plant-based alternative to meat. Overall, mushrooms are a delicious and healthy addition to any vegan diet.
What is a good alternative to mushrooms?
If you really can’t stand mushrooms, or are allergic to them, there are several options depending on what you’re looking for in terms of taste, texture and nutrition. Here are some tips:
- Aubergines: Aubergines have a mushroom-like texture when cooked and can make a good substitute in dishes such as stir-fries, curries, and stews.
- Tofu: Tofu is a versatile plant protein that can be used in a variety of dishes as a substitute for meat or mushrooms. It can be marinated and cooked in a variety of ways to achieve the desired texture and flavor.
- Zucchini: courgettes are a delicately flavored vegetable that can be sliced or diced and used instead of mushrooms in many recipes, such as flans, first courses and omelettes.
- Cauliflower: Cauliflower can be used as a substitute for mushrooms in dishes such as soups, stews, and stir-fries. When cooked, it has a tender consistency and is able to absorb flavors well.
These are just a few examples of mushroom alternatives, but there are many other options available depending on your dietary preferences and needs.
Recipe: Beef and mushroom tacos with lime cream
If you’re looking to mix up your Taco Tuesday routine, these Beef and Mushroom Tacos with Cilantro Lime Cream are a delicious and healthy option. Made with ground beef, fresh mushrooms, and a savory blend of spices, this recipe offers a satisfying and nutritious twist on the classic taco.
Topped with a savory lime creme made with low-fat sour cream and fresh cilantro, these tacos are sure to be a hit with your family and friends. Download the recipe here.
This article originally appeared on May 12, 2023 on the USU Extension Create Better Health blog.
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