How much do you know about curing food mushrooms?

Mushrooms are a delectable treat that can be seen on the menus of fine dining establishments, often as a side dish to meat or fish or even as the main course.

How much do you know about curing food mushrooms?
Food mushrooms are exquisite delights served at the top restaurants with meat and fish and occasionally as the main ingredient. Photo by Andrew Ridley / Unsplash

The bad stories about mushrooms went away when it was found that they were good for healing and eating, which proved them right. Food mushrooms also went from being served on simple tables in rural areas to gourmet ones.

Mushrooms are becoming increasingly fashionable in today's society. They used to be magical creatures that showed up in children's stories and were often linked to black magic and witchcraft. Now, they are delicious treats that can be found on the best tables, served with meat and fish and sometimes as the main ingredient in a dish at the best restaurants.

There is also a prestige component, similar to wine. It is attractive and interesting to know about mushrooms, to presume to distinguish one species from another, to taste them all the more the better, but without forgetting that all mushrooms are edible, some of them only once.

There are mycophagous regions where mushrooms are consumed and venerated, and other mycophobic regions where they are still blacklisted. There are legends and stories that involve mushrooms in assassinations of emperors of Rome or Popes, but there are many other realities that go unnoticed by foodies and country enthusiasts.

It is a complex and dense world. You have to have a range of botanical knowledge to identify one species from another, as there are no popular rules and it is a constantly evolving kingdom, so there is still a lot to know about mushrooms. And other issues that were previously taken for granted change with time and the passage of the laboratory.

It is also curious that we often do not know the culinary possibilities of the different species, the nuances of some and others, their textures, flavors, and smells, and that we ignore the medicinal properties of most of them, ignoring their nutrients, vitamins, or minerals. We misname them, mix concepts, and overlook issues of great interest that Chinese and Mesoamerican cultures knew thousands of years ago, such as the cultivation of different species or their healing properties.

In addition to being delicious, foods with mushrooms heal

It is necessary to put the fruits of mushrooms in their rightful place and put an end to the negative side that still surrounds this fantastic kingdom of nature. For example, mushrooms are very rich in carbohydrates and prevent constipation. The mineral content is extremely important for the balance of fluids in the human body. It's only fair to point out how important mushrooms are as a source of bioactive substances, which are used in medicine to treat diseases like cancer or stop them from getting worse.

Mycological components are also used to treat hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, and to strengthen the immune system. Although there is still a lot of research to be done, up to half a thousand mushrooms contain substances with therapeutic properties, according to some authors, such as Penicilluium notatum, one of the best known, as well as other mushrooms and fungi closer to home (and on sale in supermarkets) such as Lentinus edodes, Agari cus bisporus or Pleurotus ostreatus.

It is also easy to buy Ganoderma lucidum, Hericium erinaceum, or Trametes versicolor. In the wild are accessible specimens of Amanita caesarea, Auricularia auricula judae, Boletus edulis, Cantharellus cibarius, Lactarius deliciosus, Marasmius oreades, and Langermania gigantea, among many others.

Edible mushrooms are low in fat and, apart from their high protein value, contain between 10% and 50% carbohydrates that are not digestible by human enzymes but can be partially fermented by bacteria in the colon, which gives them an effect on the digestive tract similar to that of fiber. These substances have a regulating effect on intestinal transit.

They also have anti-oxidant and hypocholesterolemic properties, so it is important to start having mushrooms and mushrooms in our diet, as they are cheap those that are in nature and very affordable most of the cultivated ones.

By Alejandro Minguez Gonzalez