Mushrooms are of the fungi family subdivision of Basidiomycotina, of the class Hymenomycetes. The word mushroom is derived from the Gallo-Roman mussiro which evolved to mussereroun in Middle English.
There are so many varieties of mushrooms, both edible and toxic, that mass consumption is pretty much limited to those commercially-grown varieties which can be trusted to be edible.
In the eighteenth century, France began cultivating mushrooms resembling the basic mushroom that we all buy at the market.
Prior to 1940, the most widely available mushroom was the Italian brown, now known as the crimini mushroom. From this early lust for fungi arose the taste for more exotic mushrooms, including shiitake, enoki, oyster, morels, cepes, chanterelles, and more. (about.com)
Five Fun Facts:
- All mushrooms are fungi but not all fungi are mushrooms. The Kingdom of Fungi also includes yeasts, slime molds, rusts and several other types of related organisms.
- There are an estimated 1.5 to 2 million species of fungi on planet Earth, of which only about 80,000 have been properly identified. Theoretically, there are 6 species of fungi for every 1 species of green plants.
- In some ways, mushrooms are more closely related to animals than plants. Just like us, mushrooms take in oxygen for their digestion and metabolism and "exhale" carbon dioxide as a waste product. Fungal proteins are similar in many ways to animal proteins.
- Mushrooms grow from spores, not seeds, and a single mature mushroom will drop as many as 16 billion spores!
- Some South American Amazon tribes have one word that refers to both meat and mushrooms; they consider mushrooms as equivalent to meat in nutritive value.
Five Mushroom Recipes:
- Roasted Portobello Caps- Think of a jumbo stuffed mushroom without all the high-fat ingredients but with all the flavor.
- Chinese Braised Mushrooms & Tofu- Ma Po Tofu, a classic dish from the Sichuan province of China, inspired this recipe. The original is made with soft tofu and ground beef with plenty of heat from dried chile peppers and Sichuan peppercorns. Portobello mushrooms stand in for the meat in our vegetarian version and convenient jarred chile-garlic sauce gives it plenty of kick. Serve with brown rice.
- Mushroom & Leek Galette- Perfect as an appetizer, or as a vegetarian main dish; This savory Mushroom & Leek Galette is a delicious addition to any party!
- Mushroom Stuffed Tilapia Rolls- Beautiful enough to use as main course. The stuffing takes only a few minutes to make and freezes very well, so you might consider doubling the amounts and freezing the unused part for another meal. It will be suitable (minus the cheese) to stuff thinly pounded chicken cutlets too, using the same instructions as in this recipe. For a pareve stuffing, add another layer of flavor such as toasted pine nuts, diced tomatoes or spinach.
- Porcini Mushroom Risotto - This creamy rice dish needs no butter or cream to create a wonderfully smooth and earthy taste and texture. Dried porcini mushrooms and their intense liquid provide a burst of concentrated flavor.
Click for more mushroom recipes.
Nutrition information per 100 g of raw shiitake mushroom:
Fat: 0.5 g
Carbohydrates: 7 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 9 mg
Protein: 2 g
Sugars: 2 g