If youre used to cooking grocery store button mushrooms, its time you experimented with some new varieties.
And dont even think about throwing a tin of mushrooms into a recipe, when there are so many choices for delicious mushrooms.
Your options will not only taste delicious, theyll be packed with a powerful punch of health benefits.
Lets explore why you should start eating a mushroom thats relatively easy to find, tastes great, and is good for you: the shiitake mushroom.
How Do You Buy Shiitake Mushrooms?
Shiitake mushrooms are relatively common, and in fact you can purchase them dried or fresh. You can find fresh or dried common edible mushrooms in many grocery stores, health food stores, and farmers markets.
If youre particularly adventurous, or youd like to try something new, you can also grow shiitake mushrooms at home, using a mushroom grow-kit, for instance. Most mushrooms grow kits are essentially selling you whats called an inoculated substrate, which is the material the mushroom grows in, placed inside of a grow bag.
You can also forage for shiitake mushrooms if you live in the right area, and you know what they look like.
Why Should You Eat Shiitake Mushrooms?
Shiitake mushrooms are great to add to your diet, because theyre somewhat easy to find. But they also have a distinct flavor often found in traditional Japanese dishes.
The complex, rich and savory taste is often described as umami, which is one of the five basic tastes. Umami is best described as savory, along with the other tastes of sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness. That savory flavor is characteristic of broths and cooked meats, meaning shiitake mushrooms can enhance the flavor of the broth when making soup, or provide savory crunch to a stir-fry.
But shiitake mushrooms are also somewhat of a superfood. Theyre great for the skin, they help improve blood flow in those suffering from hardening of the arteries, and theyve been known to lower weight, allowing for guilt-free enjoyment.
Shiitakes are packed with vital nutrients and minerals, as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants. Studies are showing that they may improve human immune function.
How Do You Cook Shiitake Mushrooms?
So now youre ready to learn how to cook shiitake mushrooms. Are they a mushroom that will hold up well in a soup, or in the frying pan? The answer is yes.
If you purchased dried Shiitakes, you can use them directly in a dish, or soak them first in hot water until they plump up, and then add them. You can also use the dried shiitakes to make mushroom tea.
If the mushrooms are fresh, remove the stems, sauté them and add them to your dish. When youre frying mushrooms, make sure they have room in the pan, so they can crisp up. Shiitakes go great in stir-fry and soup, they can be added to a pizza, and they can even be sautéed and thrown in with eggs.
Weve all eaten button mushrooms and canned mushrooms, which are both tasty and healthy.
But its worth experimenting with other types of mushrooms, such as the health-packed and savory shiitake mushroom, relatively easy to find and simple to cook.