May 11, 2012

The Magic of Mushrooms

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMushrooms really are the magical fairies of the holistic health land. They provide the body with host of unbelievable benefits that you can get from no other food source.

Medicinal mushrooms have long been used in Eastern medicine for their many healing properties. They were often turned to as the first form of medicine because they have an uncanny ability to absorb and then safely eliminate toxins. Eating them allows the same thing to happen in your very own body! Shiitake mushrooms in particular, have a huge amount of natural antimicrobial and antiviral properties, meaning they’ll keep you healthy, and combat any first signs of cold or flu.

In addition to their many medicinal benefits, mushrooms are absolutely delicious! They provide a yummy, meaty texture and flavor to a huge variety of dishes. Personally, I love hearing that not only is something good for me, but it’s just plain right delicious, I would eat them no matter what the benefits were!

In my Robyn’s Cooking Club I am often surprised to hear that many of my members are afraid of tackling mushrooms. They are unsure how to wash them and how to properly use them in recipes.

So, for the food of the month I’ll take you through the simple process of easily adding mushrooms to your diet:


There’s a whole land of mushrooms out there beyond the most common white button mushrooms. All mushrooms have their own unique texture and flavor. White button mushrooms are often the most commonly seen as they have a nice neutral flavor and are readily available. I encourage you to try a mushroom you’ve never had before, Portobello mushrooms make for a great main dish, oyster mushrooms add a lively flavor to stir fries, maitakes stimulate your immune system, and shiitakes, my personal favorite, really have a unique and rich flavor in addition to their list of essential amino acids.


You’ll often see a brown paper bag in the mushrooms section at popular health food stores like Whole Foods. This is for a good reason, mushrooms need to breathe! If you put them in plastic they will quickly go bad. If the store doesn’t provide brown paper bags take them out as soon as you get home and keep them in an open container in the refrigerator.


You have two methods of washing your mushrooms. Ideally, you don’t want to run them under water. This is because mushrooms are quite porous and will soak up most of the liquid (which will later end up in your food and take away some of their flavor). It’s best to take a paper towel, dampen it under running water and then gently rub away the dirt on top of the mushrooms. If they seem extra dirty you can wash them under running water but often mushrooms are super clean and only need a gentle rub.


There really is no recipe needed when it comes to mushrooms. Chop them up and sauté them in any kind of high quality fat such as coconut oil, olive oil, or butter. Once you have sautéed your mushrooms, you can add them to anything! Mushrooms marry especially well with sautéed onions and I recently discovered how delicious onions and mushrooms where on top of my massage kale salad.

I hope next time you go to the market you’ll be encouraged to bring home a new mushroom with you. Not only will you get to enjoy their unique and rich flavor, but you’ll feel like your very own medicine woman in your kitchen!

This article was originally written for and published by the on-line Magazine BellaLife.

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