Delicious and nutritious mushrooms are a great addition to winter soups, stews, roasts and stir fries. Whatever your favorite variety – oyster, shiitake, portobello, morel, crimini or classic button – you’ll be adding health benefits as well as flavor to your foods.
The nutritional value of mushrooms is immense. These little fungi contain a range of B-vitamins, including vitamin B12, which is rarely found in vegan sources. They are also rich in minerals, including copper, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc. Mushrooms contain an array of phytonutrients, which have been linked to supporting optimal immune function, among many other benefits.
Good news for mushroom lovers: you don’t have to settle for store-bought. It’s easy to grow your own at home!
What’s the problem with simply going out and buying mushrooms? Well, for starters, they’re one food that is really important to buy organic. Mushrooms are extremely absorbent, and they readily take in whatever nutrients (and toxins) they are grown in. Organic mushrooms are grown without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, but, they can be quite expensive, especially for certain varieties such as shiitake.
When you grow your own mushrooms at home, you are able to control the growth medium, and can rest assured that no pesticides or other chemicals end up on your plate. You’ll also gain the satisfaction of eating something that you have grown yourself, with love.
On the surface, growing mushrooms can seem quite complicated, but there are many ways that beginners can get started. The easiest way is to purchase a mushroom log. Mushroom logs are exactly what they sound like – logs of hard wood which have been filled with mushroom spores. You can grow many varieties, from oyster to shiitake, on a mushroom log.
When choosing a log, make sure to do your homework, to ensure that no additives are in your log, and that the wood has not been chemically treated.
There are other ways to grow mushrooms, such as in a straw medium, but this process can be involved, and requires detailed knowledge of several steps. If you’d like to learn, seek out a local organic mushroom farm, and see if they offer starter kits, courses or other types of information. Finding a good book on the subject, or looking online at a credible site with organic agriculture in mind, can also get you going.
Once you’ve had a taste of your own, freshly-picked mushrooms, you’ll likely never look back.
-The Alternative Daily