If you’re a big food lover, then you will probably include mushrooms in your diet on a daily basis. However, there will be many of you who are yet to enjoy the pleasure of eating a mushroom.
But this food can bring on a lot of anxiety for some people who worry that they will taste bad or could potentially be poisonous.
The mushrooms that you commonly find in the grocery store are all perfectly safe to eat and being such a versatile food, they can be eaten alone or in a huge variety of dishes.
If you’ve been thinking about giving mushrooms a try, you’ll likely have been wondering what is the flavour of mushrooms. So, without further ado, let’s find out!
Do Mushrooms Taste Like Anything?
Mushrooms are often referred to as being a vegetable, but in reality, they are actually a type of fungus. Another interesting thing about mushrooms is that they have a very unique flavour that is difficult to compare to anything else.
This flavour is called ‘umami’ and is a word that is used to describe something savoury. This is one of the five taste senses and is sensed by specific taste receptors. Other foods in this category include broths, cooked meats and even avocado.
The texture of mushrooms when they are cooked is surprisingly dense and they could be considered a little chewy. They are often compared to cooked meat and for this reason, they are widely used to replace meats in vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Which Mushrooms Are Most Flavourful?
According to Wikipedia, there are more than 14,000 species of mushroom in the world, and while many are poisonous to humans, there are many that are edible.
White truffles are considered to be among the most rare mushrooms and can sell for as much as $7000 per pound! But that doesn’t mean that they are the most flavourful.
Maitake mushrooms are widely considered to be one of the most flavour-packed mushroom varieties on the planet. On top of this, they are incredibly diverse and can be eaten both on their own or with other foods. This type of mushroom is often eaten on pizza or served with various butters.
Furthermore, the maitake mushroom is also known to enhance the flavour of more bland mushroom species and is frequently chopped up and thrown in with things like cremini mushrooms which are known for their low flavour.
Another of the most flavour-filled mushrooms is the shiitake mushroom which is commonly eaten in Japan. Unlike other types of mushroom it has a much meatier, rich taste.
What Is Special About Shiitake Mushrooms?
Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most well-loved types of mushroom and have been harvested in Japan and China for many thousands of years. This proves their popularity and now the rest of the world has cottoned on to how delicious these mushrooms are.
The shiitake mushroom can be eaten fresh but it can also be dried. When it is dried, the mushroom has a much more smoky and intense flavour.
However, when they are eaten fresh, the shiitake mushrooms are meaty and considerably buttery especially when compared to other types of mushroom.
Why Are Shiitake Mushrooms So Expensive?
If you’re in the market for a batch of shiitake mushrooms, you will likely have to part with a little more cash than when purchasing regular round-capped mushrooms.
This is because the shiitake mushroom is much more difficult to farm owing to the unique growing conditions that it needs. Therefore, less are produced than other types of mushroom.
Furthermore, while shiitake mushrooms are plentiful during the spring, they pretty much disappear by the time autumn arrives, making them very much a seasonal food.
How Long Can Shiitake Mushroom Last?
Shiitake mushrooms have a pretty decent shelf life so if you buy them in bulk, you will have plenty of time to enjoy them. When kept in the fridge, you can expect these mushrooms to last up to 14 days.
When the mushrooms deteriorate, they may develop a slimy texture as well as dark spots. They might also appear wrinkly and sometimes may have a strong odour suggesting that they should be discarded.
Are Mushrooms Good For You?
One of the first things that people look for in a healthy food is that it is low in calories. And you won’t find many that are quite as low as mushrooms, particularly when you think about how filling they are.
One cup of mushrooms provides just 20 calories, and so, provided that they are not cooked in a heavy sauce or oil, could form an important part of a weight-loss or low-calorie diet.
In addition to this, mushrooms are very high in fibre and protein giving them excellent nutritional value. Depending on how the mushrooms have been raised, their contents may differ but those that are exposed to UV light are known to be very high in Vitamin D which is great for your bone health and growth.
Furthermore, mushrooms have some incredible antioxidant properties and may help to cleanse your body from toxins. Moreover, certain species of mushroom such as the cremini mushroom have a very high zinc content which is excellent news for your immune system.
Potassium levels in mushrooms are high and this can help to lower blood pressure, potentially improving cardiovascular health.
Mushrooms are an important staple food in many countries and with so many varieties, they are a very diverse food. What’s more, mushrooms can be cooked and eaten in so many ways, often being used to replace meat. They have an umami taste and depending on the variety may be delicate or very rich.