Mushroom 101

There are several varieties of mushrooms available in Canadian grocery stores.

  • Portabella are fully grown brown mushrooms with a meaty texture and earthy taste.  They can be stored for 7 days in a paper bag in the fridge.
  • Cremini are brown mushrooms and are more firm than white.  They have a meaty and earthy flavour. Store brown mushrooms in a paper bag in the fridge for 5 days.
  • White button mushrooms have a mild woodsy flavour and can also be stored for 5 days in a brown paper bag
  • Shiitake mushrooms can last in a paper bag in the refrigerator for 8 days.  They have a soft, spongy quality when cooked and a woodsy, meaty taste and texture.
  • Oyster mushrooms come in clumps of thin oyster-like ivory-coloured mushrooms one on top of the other. Use them right away because these mushrooms don’t last long (4-5 days).  They have a delicate mild flavour
  • Enoki mushrooms have long slender white stems with a small cap and last 8 days.


Nutrition Facts:

Mushrooms are made up of mostly water.  100g (4-5 medium mushrooms) contains only 25 calories, 1 g fibre and no fat.  (1/2 cup cooked mushrooms contains 14kcal).  Mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins; providing 25% DV riboflavin, 20% DV niacin and 20% DV pantothenic acid.  Mushrooms are also a good source of Copper (15% DV), Selenium (15%DV), and Potassium (8% DV) and are the only natural vegetable source of Vitamin D (4% DV for button and 13% DV for Shiitake). Recent studies have shown that the level of vitamin D2 in white and brown mushrooms can be increased to 200IU by exposure to ultraviolet light either pre-harvest or post-harvest. 

Mushrooms are also a source of the antioxidant l-ergothioneine.  Best sources being Cremini and Portabella mushrooms.  Some research shows that mushroom extracts may help boost immunity. 

Health Benefits: 

Weight loss: Because of their fluid, fibre and low calorie density, like other vegetables, they are a good choice for people trying to lose weight as they will help fill you up.

Prostate cancer: selenium in mushrooms may help reduce the risk

Arthritis and heart health: Beta-glucan, a carbohydrate in mushrooms, acts as an anti-inflammatory

Blood Pressure: Potassium is known to help lower blood pressure


How to select your mushrooms:

Choose mushrooms that are firm to the touch, have uniform colour and a slightly shiny surface.  They should not look bruised or feel slimy. 



Store mushrooms in the refrigerator in a brown paper bag to allow them to breathe and stay firm.  If packaged, once opened store the remaining mushrooms in a brown paper bag.  Prior to use, brush off the peat moss, use a damp paper towel to wipe them clean or rinse them in cold water and pat them dry.


Mushrooms are very versatile.  They can be sautéed as a side dish with garlic, added to stir fries, pasta, and pizza, stuffed with crab and cheese as a delicious appetizer or grilled on the BBQ like a burger. 

Blend and Extend:

Combine mushrooms and beef in recipes to bring another serving of vegetables to the plate, add volume to meals and extend portions.  Just substitute a portion of the meat with mushrooms.  Finely chopped mushrooms look similar and blend seamlessly with ground beef without losing taste or sacrificing texture.  The benefits of blending and extending a recipe with mushrooms are a reduction in calories, reduced saturated fat and cholesterol with less meat, increased vegetable intake and additional flavour and Umami.






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