Monday, December 17, 2007

French Mushroom Soup

French Mushroom Soup

Preparation Time: 10 mins. Cooking Time: 30 mins.

Subtle herbs compliment the rich mushroom flavour in this decadent soup. It makes a perfect starter to a luncheon or dinner party.

1/4 cup butter 50 mL
1 lb. fresh Mushrooms, thinly sliced 500 g
1/3 cup flour
75 mL
6 cups chicken broth 1.5 L
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 mL
1 bay leaf 1
1/4 cup chopped green onions
50 mL
2 large egg yolks 2
1/2 cup whipping cream
125 mL
White pepper to taste
2 tbsp minced parsley 25 mL

In large heavy soup pot, melt butter over medium heat; sauté mushrooms for 5-6 minutes or until mixture from mushrooms has evaporated; sprinkle flour over mushrooms and cook 1 minute. Gradually stir in broth; bring to boil, stirring constantly. Add thyme, bay leaf and green onions; reduce heat and cover. Simmer 15- 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf. In small bowl whisk egg yolks with cream; stir 1cup (250 mL) hot broth into cream mixture and then return all to saucepan. Heat over low heat until hot about 5 minutes; add pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

Makes 8 servings

NOTE: If table cream is substituted and allowed to boil it will curdle.

Variation: Add ¼ cup(50 mL) medium sherry.

Mushrooms Canada

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Simple Sauteed Mushrooms

Fresh sautéed mushrooms make a quick and nutritious side dish.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mushrooms Gain Fans

"MADE IN ONTARIO Food Jennifer Bain

Mushrooms gain fans

Local foods are all the rage this year. But how many can claim 24/7/365 status?

Mushrooms can.

They're grown indoors, year-round and around the clock, and harvested daily.

If you want to get all 100-mile diet about it, you can stick to Ontario mushrooms because our province grows half of Canada's 250-million pound, $325 million mushroom crop.

Whites (button) and browns (cremini, portobellos and baby bellas) are now standard. Specialty growers are stepping up production of oyster, enoki and shiitake mushrooms. Exotic varieties – like hon shimeji and maitake – are popping up in grocery stores and markets.

Mushroom lovers need never settle for imports.

That's the message Mushrooms Canada is spreading this year with two catchy ad campaigns.
The first shows a white mushroom emblazoned with a red maple leaf alongside the message: "Locally grown."

The second shows a white mushroom with a red scarf wrapped around it to drive home the "Fresh even in winter" point.

"Local just seemed to be a hot topic," explains Mushrooms Canada marketing manager Brittany Stager.

"We'd also taken part in Foodland Ontario's `Pick Ontario Freshness' campaign this year and want to refocus people on Ontario products."

Mushrooms Canada launched in 1955 as the Canadian Mushroom Growers' Association.

It rebranded in May 2006 with a new emphasis on promoting fresh mushrooms to consumers.

Since then, the group (whose members produce 90 cent of the mushrooms grown in Canada) has been active, cooking at public events such as the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, enticing media to tour mushroom farms, driving consumers to the website to view recipes and background information.

And yet, mycophobia persists.

"Mycophobia, or fear of mushrooms, is mainly in the Anglo-Saxon community," notes Bill Wylie, of Wylie Mycologicals in Wiarton. "The white button mushroom became accepted, but there is still a fear of going out into the wild and picking wild mushrooms and getting poisoned and dying."

You're welcome to join the Mycological Society of Toronto and learn how to safely forage. But a trip to the supermarket or farmers' market should suffice for most of us.

I grew up loathing (not fearing) mushrooms – but that was when they came canned (slimy/rubbery) or white (homogenous and dull).

Now I adore meaty portobellos/creminis and woodsy shiitakes, and am delving into the exotics, too.

That's right on trend with changing consumer tastes, according to Hank Vander Pol, president/CEO of Rol-land Farms.

Overall, mushroom consumption is holding steady, but browns "are growing at significantly higher rates" of about 10 to 15 per cent in the last three to five years.

"The brown mushroom tends to have a little bit more flavour than whites do," Vander Pol concedes.

His Campbellville-based business (likely Canada's largest with 1,200 employees and five farms) expanded into growing browns six months ago. (It sells under the Essex Kent brand.) And it rarely sends anything to the cannery.

The health benefits of mushrooms are also being touted.

We're all supposed to be eating more vegetables, and a half cup of cooked, sliced fresh mushrooms (1 cup raw or about 4 ounces/113 grams) is considered one serving.

Mushrooms Canada reports that this sized serving of white button mushrooms offers 14 calories and no cholesterol, is virtually fat-free and low in sodium, and has 1 gram of fibre. It's also high in riboflavin, niacin, copper and an antioxidant called selenium.

Another thing the industry is trying to alter is the mistaken image that mushrooms are grown in the dark in stinky manure.

During a tour of Rol-land, Vander Pol and farm manager Harjit Bamrah take pains to point out how their compost (horse manure mixed with wheat straw from race tracks) is pasteurized and deodorized during a multi-step outdoor process before being taken indoors to help grow mushrooms.

"For a mushroom farm, we smell pretty good," says Vander Pol – and he's right.
Large farms like Rol-land grow mushrooms in trays. Each of its 26 growing rooms is filled with stacks of these hemlock trays.

Mushroom spawn is mixed with pasteurized compost, topped with peat moss and given about 14 days and some water to grow. True, mushrooms don't need light, but the staff who monitor/harvest the rooms do, so they're kept lit.

Gloved workers harvest the mushrooms by hand, deftly trimming the ends with a knife and packing them into containers for supermarkets.

Three things are key from this point on. Mushrooms must be kept cold (in supermarkets and in your fridge), they're as delicate as eggs and bruise easily, and they keep best when stored in paper bags.

"Quality is always a problem at the supermarket," laments Wylie. "As for brown paper bags, Canadian mushroom growers have been pushing this directive but supermarkets haven't seemed to adopt it.

"Most things are consumer driven," he adds.

Meaning, I think, it's up to mushroom lovers to take a stand.

Portobellos With Roasted Garlic and Asiago Couscous

A Conestoga College team (Laura Kallay, Bridget Dignard and Nathan Lavoie plus course director Philippe Savaria) won Mushroom Canada's recent "Make it With Mushrooms" competition with this dish.

2 large cloves garlic
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 large portobello mushooms (each about 5 inches wide), cleaned, stems (if any) diced, caps cut in thick slices
1/2 vidalia/Spanish onion, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup finely grated asiago cheese
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt + freshly ground pepper

Trim root end of garlic, leaving skin intact. Place on square of foil. Drizzle with oil. Fold and seal to form package. Roast in preheated 350F 15 minutes to soften. Open foil to cool slightly.

Discard skin. Mince or mash flesh.

In small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium. Add onions. Cook, stirring, 3 minutes or until translucent. Add carrots, celery and mushroom stems (if any). Cover. Cook 3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add couscous. Stir in boiling water. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand at least 5 minutes. Stir in cheese and garlic.

Meanwhile, mix remaining 1 tablespoon oil with vinegar. Brush all over portobello slices. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In medium skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat, cook 1 to 2 minutes per side or until mushrooms release liquid, liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are tender at surface but firm in centre.

To serve, divide couscous mixture over 2 plates. Arrange equal portions portabella slices over each.

Makes 2 servings."

Courtesy of the Toronto Star

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mushrooms. Saving the world one diesel spill at a time.

"Fungi that can clean up fossil fuel spills? It can happen! Paul Stamets, a mycologist dedicated to the preservation of ancient mushroom species, grew a mound of giant oyster mushrooms on a pile of diesel-contaminated soil.

This was an experiment with fungi that break down hydrocarbons such as oil and gasoline. The fungus spores produce an enzyme that denatures hydrocarbon chains, so not only did the mushrooms grow on contaminated soil— they thrived.

Six to eight weeks later, the mushrooms decomposed and flies laid eggs there. Birds came to feed on the fly larvae, and in the process dropped seeds. Grass grew, other insects moved in, and soon what had been a toxic pile of contaminated soil— one which led to a lawsuit and a fine, in fact— was integrated back into a thriving ecosystem."

Source: About My Planet

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Best Life Diet Recipe


4 cups fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided use)
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 cup pearl barley, sorted and rinsed
1/3 cup dry white wine
8 ounces portobello or white button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

In saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Cover pan and turn off heat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft. Reduce heat to low. Add barley and stir to coat with oil. Add wine and cook, stirring, until wine is absorbed. Add hot broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and adding 1/2 cup more of broth each time the previous addition is almost absorbed. This should take about 30 minutes. (You might have a little leftover broth.) If barley is not yet tender and all the broth is gone, add a little water and cook until tender.

In skillet over medium-high heat, place remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add mushrooms and shallots and saute until mushrooms are golden and shallots are soft, about 5 minutes. (If mixture begins to stick, remove skillet from heat and spray mushrooms with nonstick cooking spray. Return skillet to heat and cook until mushrooms are golden and shallots are soft).

Stir mushroom mixture and basil into barley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Yields 4 servings.

- "The Best Life Diet"
(Simon & Schuster, $26)
by Bob Greene.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Preserving your Fresh Mushrooms

Pickling Your Mushrooms

How to Pickle Mushrooms
Pickling is a preservation process for mushrooms. Lactic acid or vinegar is added directly the mushrooms you wish to preserve. A good method is bringing a couple of cups of white vinegar, a tablespoon of salt, peppercorns, garlic and bay leaves to a boil and then add whole petite mushrooms or quartered mushrooms. Gently boil the mixture for about 8-10 minutes. Spoon the mushrooms into hot sterilized jars. Pour in a few tablespoons of good quality olive oil, put the cap on the jar, and gently shake to make sure that everything is covered in oil. Keep refrigerated.

Are great as appetizers or side dishes. Put them out at parties, events, and get togethers.

- You can use any variety of mushroom, but whites, browns, shiitake and oysters response the best and produce a great flavour.
- Very easy process to do at home.

- You have to be very careful when planning on keeping pickled mushrooms for a long period of time. Improper techniques and acid balance could lead to Botulism or other serious food poisoning.
- Should use the pickled mushrooms within a week.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Add more mushrooms to everyday meals

Add more mushrooms to everyday meals

(Jul 11, 2007)

(CP) - Tasty and versatile, mushrooms add vitamins and nutrients to your favourite dishes -- with almost no calories, fat or sodium

Including fresh mushrooms in everyday meals is a great way to boost vitamin intake while adding virtually no calories, fat or sodium. Tossing some sliced mushrooms into green salads, soups, stews, stir-fries and omelettes as well as pasta and rice dishes is easy and quick.

Grilling a whole portobello mushroom makes a tasty low-fat "burger'' and sautéed fresh mushrooms lend a savoury depth of flavour to chicken, beef and fish.

Here are two grilling recipes from Mushrooms Canada that can be ready in minutes -- all with mushrooms in their ingredient list.


45 ml (3 tbsp.) olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 large fresh portobello mushroom caps
4 whole-wheat pita breads (each 15 to 18 cm/6 to 7 inch)
75 ml (1/3 cup) sun-dried tomato pesto
1 l (4 cups) baby spinach or arugula leaves
125 ml (1/2 cup) shaved Parmesan or Romano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

1. In a small bowl, whisk together oil and garlic; lightly brush mushrooms on both sides with garlic oil. Grill mushrooms on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until mushrooms are slightly softened.
2. Meanwhile, place pitas on barbecue grill over high heat and cook for 2 minutes on one side or until warmed through. Remove to a tray or cutting board and spread softer side with tomato pesto. Top with spinach, and then warm mushrooms, stem side up. Return to barbecue and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer or until slightly crisp. Garnish with Parmesan. Cut in halves or quarters and serve immediately. Add pepper to taste.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 370 calories, 16 g protein, 18 g fat, 41 g carbohydrates, 7 g fibre.

Note: If mushrooms are too large for the pita, thickly slice mushrooms on a cutting board and place on top of spinach. Thinner pitas will crisp better than thicker ones.

Wine match: Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc.

15 ml (1 tbsp.) olive oil
250 g (8 oz) fresh mushrooms
1 large clove garlic, crushed
5 ml (1 tsp.) dried basil leaves
500 ml (2 cups) grated old cheddar cheese
125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
4 oval panini rolls (about 10 cm/4 inches), halved
250 ml (1 cup) baby spinach leaves

1. In a medium frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat; add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until just until starting to brown. Stir in garlic and basil; cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, mix cheese and tomatoes; spread evenly on bottom half of each roll. Arrange mushrooms, then spinach, evenly on top of cheese. Top with the other half of the roll and press firmly.
3. Place in a preheated sandwich grill (according to manufacturer's directions) and cook for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and cheese has melted. Cut sandwiches in half and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 484 calories, 22 g protein, 27 g fat, 40 g carbohydrates, 3.4 g fibre.

Note: If sandwich grill is not available, heat a well-seasoned ridged grill pan or a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place sandwiches in pan and place another heatproof pan or skillet on top of sandwiches; weight down with canned goods and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn panini over and repeat on other side. Lower heat after sandwich is browned to melt cheese.

Tip: Substitute other crusty rolls or kaiser buns for panini rolls or use 8 slices French, Italian or sourdough bread cut 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick .
Variation: Substitute 125 ml (1/2 cup) softened goat cheese (about 125 g/4 oz) for cheddar and baby arugula leaves for spinach.

Wine match: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Recent research has found that mushrooms contain a powerful antioxidant called l-ergothioneine. Here are some facts on this antioxidant:

- Ergothioneine has shown antioxidant properties as a scavenger of strong oxidants.
Antioxidant activity is enhanced by the presence of selenium, which helps to prevent cell damage caused by free radicals within the body.

- A 125-ml (1/2-cup) serving of cooked sliced white mushrooms provides 13 per cent of the daily needs for selenium.

- Portobello and cremini mushrooms have substantial amounts of ergothioneine, followed closely by white mushrooms.

- Exotic mushrooms such as maitake, oyster and shiitake have the highest amounts of ergothioneine.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Preserving your Fresh Mushrooms

Sautéing and Freezing your Mushrooms

How to Sauté Mushrooms
One the quickest and easiest ways to freeze fresh mushrooms. To start, slice or chop your fresh mushrooms, or if using presliced mushrooms - you are one step ahead. Heat 1 tbsp (per 8oz of mushrooms) in a fry pan over medium high heat. Add mushroom to hot pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until mushrooms are brown and tender. If you wish to have flavoured mushrooms you may also sauté with garlic, onions, and/or spices. Allow mushrooms to cool, then transfer to a small freezer container. Pushing the mushrooms to the bottom of the container and covering the top with a small piece of plastic wrap will help prevent freezer burn. Make sure to label the containers with the date.

When ready to use your frozen mushrooms simply pop them out of the container and drop the frozen block into the frying pan. Add ½ tbsp of oil and sauté until mushrooms are warm. There is no need to pre-thaw the mushrooms.

- The is the best method to use when you want to maintain the taste and texture of a fresh sauté.

- If the mushrooms are not packed tight into the container, air will start to cause freezer burn.
- Freezer burn will slightly alter the taste and texture of the mushrooms.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Research finds that fresh mushrooms contain a substantial amount of vitamin D

"Research finds that fresh mushrooms contain a substantial amount of vitamin D

Published: Monday, July 9, 2007 1:05 PM ET

Canadian Press: JUDY CREIGHTON

(CP) - Vitamin D, which is being used as a weapon in the fight against everything from cancer to arthritis and osteoporosis, can also be found in substantial quantities in fresh mushrooms, says a spokesman for the industry.

This could be good news for those who are deficient in vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin.

In June, a four-year clinical trial involving 1,200 women found those taking the vitamin had about 60 per cent reduction in cancer incidence.

Just after the news was released, the Canadian Cancer Society recommended a specific amount of vitamin D supplementation for Canadians to consider taking. It suggested adults living in Canada should consider taking 1,000 international units of vitamin D a day during the fall and winter.

William Stevens, executive vice-president of Mushrooms Canada, based in Guelph, Ont., says that in some preliminary studies in the United States in which mushrooms were exposed to ultraviolet radiation the vitamin D contained in them "just skyrocketed and exceeded by 687 times the daily requirement for the vitamin."

"Two years ago the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) told the mushroom industry both in Canada and the U.S. that if it would sponsor research into vitamin D they would actively pursue it," he says. "We in Canada said we would supply the raw materials for the research."

As a result, Stevens is working with the Guelph Food Technology Centre. There, fresh mushrooms are being exposed to ultraviolet radiation under controlled conditions. Then they are freeze-dried and shipped to the FDA where they are subjected to animal studies as a component of their research.

In the past, the only important research on the nutrient value of mushrooms has taken place in the United States, he says.

"There is a very active school at Pennsylvania State University which is dealing with mushrooms from growing right through to marketing," Stevens says, "because half of the mushrooms grown in North America are grown in one county in Pennsylvania, so the university always has had an inherent interest."

He suggests that the intense focus on specialty mushrooms in particular and information coming out of Asia, "where they always felt that mushrooms had medicinal and therapeutic properties, has renewed interest in any benefits mushrooms contain."

For example, a 2006 study conducted at the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope in Duarte, Calif., found that daily consumption of 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of mushrooms would help suppress breast tumour growth in women. However, the authors added that much more research, including human studies, needs to be done before any specific recommendations can be made.

Results from the Physicians' Health Study conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, both in Boston, Mass., noted that higher levels of selenium contained in mushrooms may slow the progression of prostate cancer tumours.

"As well, there are quite a few studies taking place on immunity factors, such as pain relief, tumours and arthritis," says Stevens, noting that because of their high vitamin D content mushrooms are being used in the research.

Other foods containing vitamin D include fortified milk, fatty fish (cod liver oil, mackerel, sardines, salmon and tuna), fortified orange juice and cereals, egg yolks and some cheeses.

But a warning: consuming amounts greater than 2,000 IU a day could cause such problems as nausea, vomiting, poor appetite and other conditions; check the label on multivitamins to make sure that you do not exceed this amount.

Mushrooms also contain significant amounts of B vitamins, are low in calories and fat, a valuable source of fibre and are cholesterol-and carbohydrate-free.
For more information on related topics, visit
Judy Creighton welcomes letters at 9 Kinnell St., Hamilton, Ont., L8R 2J8, but cannot promise to answer all correspondence personally. She can also be reached by e-mail at"

Monday, July 9, 2007

Preserving your Fresh Mushrooms

Preserving your Fresh Mushrooms

Over the next two weeks we are going to explore the many ways of preserving your fresh mushrooms. From Blanching to Pickling, we will take a look at how, why and the pros and cons of these preserving methods.

Today we are going to start with blanching.

How to Blanch Mushrooms
Blanching is the handiest way to preserve large amounts of mushrooms. First you should start with washing the mushrooms. Place them in a colander and run cold water over them to remove any particles of peat moss. Next, plunge the clean mushrooms directly into a pot of boiling water. Remove mushroom after 3 minutes with colander and plunge into cold water, this will immediately stop the cooking process. Once cooled, the mushrooms should be rinsed and then place in plastic freezer containers. Make sure to leave enough headspace, about 1 inch, in the container so it does not rupture. Small 8 oz containers work great as they are usually enough to drop into any recipe. Label containers with the date and pop into the freezer.

Blanched mushrooms are great when they are used in soups, stews, and pasta sauces. Prep is as easy as removing from the freezing and dropping the frozen mushrooms into the pot. There is no need to defrost before hand.


- Blanching stops enzymatic action and prevents mushrooms from turning into mush.
- Very easy to do large amounts of mushrooms in a short period of time.
- Very convenient to use, just place the frozen mass directly into cooking pot.
- Holds the mushrooms flavour well.


- Blanched mushrooms are not of the quality to fry or sauté or crisp.
- Usually limited to “One Pot Cooking” type meals.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Local Grilled Portobella Recipe

"Portobellas with Summer Salsa
Jun 27, 2007

By The Saucy Lady

No, avocados don't grow in Ontario but robust and meaty portobellas do, and so do tomatoes. Rounded out by Ontario feta, this dish, adapted from, works as a main with large mushroom caps or a starter with medium ones.

1 large tomato, quartered, seeded if desired, cut in 1/2-inch dice
1 avocado, cut in 1/2-inch dice
3 oz (90 g) feta cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 large or 8 medium portobella mushroom caps

In medium bowl, combine tomatoes, avocados and feta.

In small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons oil and vinegar. Season with pepper. Whisk well to combine. Pour over tomato mixture. Toss gently to coat. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Makes about 3 cups.)

Brush mushrooms on both sides with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake under preheated broiler, 4 minutes per side, until tender. (Alternatively, barbecue directly over high heat 3 to 4 minutes per side.)

Place warm mushrooms, stem side up, on serving plates. Top each evenly with tomato mixture.

Makes 4 to 8 servings."

Courtesy of

Friday, June 22, 2007

Portabella Mushrooms - King of the Grill

Grilling Portabella Mushrooms Portobello

Big, tender, meaty and filling is how I would describe a grilled portabella mushroom. With its large size it is no wonder that Portabella Mushrooms can be called King if the Grill.

Grilling portabellas is easy! You can marinate them in your favourite marinade before throwing them on the grill or just lightly brush with olive oil and salt & pepper. Grill on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes either side. Eat it as a burger, a topping or side dish.

Not only do Portabellas taste great, but they can be used as a meat alternative saving tons of calories, fat, sodium and carbohydrates.

Try this recipe:

"Barbecued Mushroom and Spinach Pizzettes

Prep Time: 10 mins. Cooking Time: 8 mins.

3 tbsp olive oil,
45 mL
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 large fresh Portabella Mushroom caps
4 6-7" (15-17cm) whole wheat pita breads
1/3 cup sun-dried tomato pesto 75 mL
4 cups baby spinach or arugula leaves (2oz/60g)
1 L
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan or Romano cheese
125 mL
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

In a small bowl whisk oil and garlic together, lightly brush the mushrooms on both sides with garlic oil. Barbecue mushrooms on high heat for 2-3 minutes per side or until mushrooms are slightly softened. Meanwhile place pitas on the barbecue over high heat and cook for 2 minutes on one side or until warmed through. Remove to a tray or cutting board and spread softer side with the tomato pesto. Top with spinach leaves, and then warm mushrooms, stem side up. Return to barbecue and cook for additional 2-3 minutes o until slightly crisp. Garnish with Parmesan shavings. Cut in halves or quarters and serve immediately. Add pepper to taste.

Serves 4

Variation: If mushrooms are too large for the pitas, thickly slice mushrooms on a cutting board and place on top of spinach.

Tips: Thinner pitas will crisp better than thicker ones.To shave Parmesan easily use a vegetable peeler. Shaved Parmesan is most attractive but if substituting grated Parmesan use only ¼ cup (50 mL)

Nutritional Information:
Per Serving 1 Pizzette
Calories: 370
Sodium: 784 mg
Protein : 16.1 g
Fat: 17.9 g
Carbohydrates: 40.7 g
Dietary Fibre: 6.9 g"

Enjoy the great weather, and a great evening out of the BBQ with the King of the Grill; Portabellas!

recipe courtesy of Mushrooms Canada

Thursday, June 7, 2007

"The Cap Crew"

""The Cap Crew" Make Mushrooms Appealing to Tweens

Conestoga College Advertising Students Win Big in Mushroom Character Development

KITCHENER, ONTARIO --(May 28, 2007) Mushrooms Canada and Conestoga's Advertising Program have done it again. After last year's success with the creation of the association's new logo and tagline, Mushrooms Canada challenged the students to create mushroom characters. The result was a win for eight of the program's students; Jennifer Bregman, Brendan Waller, Amanda Moore, Tarah Mcfarlane, Amy Lienhart, Quinn Battersby, Jessica Warren, and Danielle Beaumont.

The Character development was presented to the students as a scholarship opportunity to see who could design the most appealing characters and who could develop the best plan to implement them. As a result, Jennifer Bregman and Brendan Waller took home first place in both categories with their characters, "The Cap Crew". Honoured with a $950 scholarship, the two are delighted to have created characters that will be part of an already strong Ontario mushroom promotional campaign. Mushrooms Canada also donated $2000.00 to Conestoga College for the Advertising Program, in hopes that it will continue to put talented individuals out into the community.

"Last year our Advertising students had the valuable opportunity to demonstrate their Creative skills in the development of a Corporate Identity Program for Mushrooms Canada" says Joe Romer, Advertising Program Coordinator. "This year their Strategic, Creative and Marketing skills were put to the test in the development and implementation of a marketing plan to a younger target market. The "Cap Crew" is a fun, fresh approach that was the result of intensive research and market analysis. I can't thank Mushrooms Canada enough for giving our students the opportunity to showcase their skills. It's this "hands on" approach that prepares them so well for careers in the Advertising industry."

The Advertising program at Conestoga College is in its seventh year of operation and has been a great success with graduates now working in large corporations such as Research In Motion and growing associations such as Mushrooms Canada.

Mushrooms Canada rebranded itself last year from The Canadian Mushroom Growers' Association. It launched a province wide campaign to increase awareness of Ontario grown mushrooms, their uses, flavours, and many health benefits. Watch for "The Cap Crew" to be launched this Fall at

"Funding for this project has been granted through the Canada-Ontario Research and Development Program, as funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs""

Source: CCN Mathews

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Brown Paper Bag

What's With the Brown Paper Bag?

We all do it. Go to the grocery store to buy mushrooms, and of course put them in a brown paper bag. But what's with the brown paper bag?

The brown paper bag acts like a barrier to all elements in your fridge, whether it be moisture or the smell of the onion in your crisper. The brown bag absorbs these elements before they can be absorbed by the mushrooms. Even when purchasing mushrooms in packages, once opened the remainder of the mushrooms should be stored in a paper bag.

Simply put, brown paper bags make your mushrooms stay fresher and tastier, longer.

Enjoy this mushroom recipe found on a brown paper bag.

Ginger Mushroom Stir-Fry
3 tbsp lemon juice 45 mL
3 tbsp soy sauce 45 mL
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger 15 mL
2 cloves garlic, pressed 2
2 skinned and boned chicken breast halves, cut into strips about ½ - inch thick 2
1/3 cup chicken stock or bouillon 75 mL
2 tsp corn starch 10 mL
1 tbsp vegetable oil 15 mL
8 oz specialty mushrooms, sliced or quartered 250 g
1 ½ cups asparagus or green beans, sliced about 1 ½ inches long 375 mL

3 green onions sliced diagonally into 1 inch pieces 3
Toasted sesame seeds
Lemon slices
Cilantro or parsley sprigs

In a bowl combine lemon juice, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Add chicken tossing to coat; set aside. Measure broth; dissolve cornstarch in broth. In skillet or wok heat one to two tablespoons of oil until sizzling. Drain chicken and reserve the liquid. Add mushrooms and chicken to the skillet. Toss over high heat until chicken loses pink colour. Add asparagus and onions; continue to toss over high heat until chicken juices run clear and vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir in broth mixture to chicken. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve hot, over rice, is desired. Garnish with lemon slices and cilantro.

Makes 4 servings.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Mushrooms: Canned vs Fresh

"Which mushrooms are more nutritious? Canned or Fresh?”

Great Question! Let’s explore the difference in nutritional value and determine which is more nutritious.

Comparing one can (132g) of white mushrooms to 132g of Fresh white mushrooms:

Canned mushrooms contain:
33 calories, 0g of Fat, 561mg of Sodium, 7g of carbohydrates, 3g of dietary fiber, 3g of sugar, and 2g of protein.

Fresh mushrooms contain:
29 calories, 0g of Fat, 7mg of Sodium, 4g of carbohydrates, 1g of Dietary Fiber, 2g of sugar and 4g of protein.

When compared, fresh mushrooms come out as the obvious winner. The fresh mushrooms contain less calories, sodium, carbohydrates and sugar, and are higher in protein.

100g* of fresh white mushrooms are also a good source of riboflavin, niacin, copper, pantothenic acid and selenium.

Remember, when you purchase fresh mushrooms from your grocery store you are buying a local "grown in Canada" product, so you are supporting your local farmers. Fresh Mushrooms are grown all year round right here in Canada! Canned mushrooms are often shipped in from Asian countries such as China.

* 100g equals 4-5 medium sized mushrooms.

Picture coutesy of Quentinh

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Make Your House a Mushroom House

"Growable Homes Made With Mushrooms Greensulate

Tracy Staedter, Discovery News

May 11, 2007 — Insulation made with mushroom spores could eventually replace the familiar pink synthetic foam used by many homeowners to pad their attics and walls.

Although excellent insulators, traditional polystyrene and polyurethane foam blends require petroleum, are expensive to produce, and are not biodegradable.

The patented Greensulate formula is an organic, fire-retardant board made of water, flour, minerals and mushroom spores. It not only hinders heat flow but could also be modified to produce sustainable, "growable" homes.

"You could grow it up in a matter of weeks," said Eben Bayer, a student of mechanical engineering and product design innovation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. Bayer and classmate Gavin McIntyre developed the product together and are launching a company in the next few weeks.

The insulation starts with a slurry of water, biodegradable mineral particles called Pearlite (those white beads in potting soil), hydrogen peroxide and starch. (Waste polystyrene could be substituted for the Pearlite, said Bayer, offering an alternative solution for a product that often ends up in landfills.)

The mixture is poured into a panel-shaped mold and injected with living mushroom cells. As the cells grow, they digest the starch as food and begin sprouting thousands of cellular strands called mycelium. In nature, these strands act as roots, providing nutrients and structural support.

After a week or two, a three to six-inch panel of insulation is fully grown, consisting of the insulating particles of Pearlite suspended in a tightly meshed network of mycelium.

According to Bayer, the organic composite board has an insulating value similar to fiberglass, some foams, or loose-fill cellulose.

He also thinks the Greensulate could be competitively priced. The total cost for synthetic insulation runs from between $1 and $2 per square foot. The mushroom-based panels would sell for around $1.50 per square foot.

A competitive price point is just one of many challenges Greensulate is up against, said Mitchell Joachim, executive director of New York City-based Terreform, a nonprofit design collaborative that integrates ecological principles with urban environments.

"'Greener' is usually low on the list. It has to outperform what is out there, be lighter, denser, have a better R-value, and be cheaper," he said.

In addition to insulation, Bayer thinks the product could be used to build inexpensive homes in developing countries or where temporary housing is needed, such as in disaster areas.

He envisions a dome-shaped structure made of two inflatable membranes with a space in between. The mushroom mixture could be pumped into the space, cured, and left to produce a nicely insulated, fire-proof structure."

Discovery Channel

Monday, May 14, 2007

Buying Local Produce

Buying fresh mushrooms supports local farmers and the environment

Q. How are you supporting local farmers when you buy fresh mushrooms?

A. Fresh Mushrooms are one of the produce items in you supermarket that are always grown locally, even in the winter. Mushrooms are grown in indoor, controlled environments; therefore they can be produced year round, anywhere in Canada.

When you buy a package of mushrooms from the grocery store you are buying a local product and supporting the local farmers that brought you that product.
Now that is local support!

Q. How are locally grown mushrooms helping the environment?

A. It is not unusual for imported foods to travel thousands of kilometers before you pick it up in the grocery store. Now think of the impact on our environment from trucks shipping the food across the country, or from planes shipping them from overseas. The burn of fossil fuels adds to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

According to the World Watch Institute, trucking or shipping food thousands of kilometres can burn up to 17 times more fossil fuel than if you were to buy locally.

The fresh mushrooms that you purchase in the grocery store are grown on farms as close as 80 kilometres.
Now that is helping the environment!!

So eat up your fresh mushrooms, you will do the environment and local mushroom farmers a world of good.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Italian Style Stuffed Peppers

This one is a must try! Made it for a dinner party and everybody loved it, even the guest who don't like mushrooms.

"Italian Style Stuffed Peppers

Preparation Time:
20 minutes Cooking Time: 18 minutes

A wonderful vegetarian meal or side dish that can be microwaved if you prefer.

2 large red, yellow or green peppers 2
2 tbsp olive oil 25 mL
1/4 cup Each diced celery and onion 50 mL
1 lb. mushrooms, finely chopped 500 mL
4 cloves garlic, minced 4
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs 125 mL
1/4 cup Each grated Parmesan cheese and ketchup 50 mL
1 tsp Each dried basil and oregano 5 mL
1 cup grated mozzarella or crumbled feta, divided 250 mL

Cut peppers in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out seeds. In large skillet heat oil over medium heat, sauté celery and onion for 1-2 minutes, or until softened. Add mushrooms and sauté another 3-4 minutes or until starting to brown; stir in garlic and remove from heat. Stir in breadcrumbs, Parmesan, ketchup, basil, oregano and half the mozzarella. Spoon mixture into peppers and place in shallow baking pan or casserole. Bake 15 –18 minutes in 400°F (200°C) oven or until peppers are tender; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Return to oven 1-2 minutes just to melt cheese.

Makes 4 servings

Tip: Chop celery, onion and mushrooms in food processor to save time.

Variation: Add ½ cup (125 mL) chopped green or black olives.Microwave Method: Place stuffed peppers in shallow microwaveable casserole, cover and cook on high for 5-8 minutes or until softened and heated through (time varies depending on size of peppers and wattage of oven) top with cheese and microwave on medium for 1-2 minutes to melt cheese."

Recipe Courtesy of Mushrooms Canada

Friday, May 4, 2007

Mushroom Compost

Where Can I Find Mushroom Compost?

It is spring and you gardeners have kicked it in the full gear, everyone is looking for Mushroom Compost.

No matter what you call it; spent mushroom substrate, mushroom compost or spent mushroom compost, it is great for you lawn, gardens, trees and shrubs.

So with everyone looking for this "miracle for you lawn," I say why not go right to the source.

Listed are Mushroom Farms within each province of Canada. Some might have a Spent Mushroom Compost facility, some may not. I would suggest, based on your geographical location, to contact the closest mushroom farm and simply ask if they have spent mushroom substrate.

British Columbia




New Brunswick

Prince Edward Island

Nova Scotia

Happy Gardening!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Mushrooms Canada Contest

Mushrooms Canada T-Fal Frypan Contest

Mushrooms Canada is holding a contest where you can win 1 of 25 T-Fal Encore Frypans.
If you win, be sure to try their sauteed mushroom recipe.

Simple Sauteed Mushrooms

Preparation Time:
0 mins. Cooking Time: 5 mins.

Fast and easy, sautéed mushrooms make a great side dish with any meal.

1 tbsp olive oil, vegetable oil or butter
15 mL
1/2 lb. sliced fresh Mushrooms 250 g
2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced 25 mL
1 tbsp minced fresh herbs (tarragon, basil or thyme)
15 mL
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of salt

Heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable or olive oil or butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté ½ lb (250g) sliced mushrooms for 3-5 minutes or until starting to brown. Add 2 tbsp (25 mL) minced parsley or 1 tbsp (15 mL) minced fresh herbs (e.g. thyme, basil, or tarragon) and 1 minced clove garlic or a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute.

Tip: It is important to use a large pan so the mushrooms are in a single layer and will brown rather than steam in their own juices.

Variations: Substitute dried herbs using 2 tsp (10 mL) parsley and 1 tsp (5 mL) dried herbs. Seasoning salt or salt free seasonings may be added to taste.

NOTE: for 1 lb (500 g) mushrooms: use a larger pan, double the ingredients and increase the time to 5-7 minutes.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Mushrooms, A Source of Vitamin D?

Mushrooms could soon be considered a source of Vitamin D

Do you spend your 20 minutes outside in the sun as part of our daily requirement for Vitamin D? A lot of Canadians may find it hard to with the unpredictable weather, and long winters.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to cancer, multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes and osteoporosis. So how can you get your daily requirement of Vitamin D? You could spend 20 minutes outside, but researchers say that you soon might be able to pop a few mushrooms and you will be well on your way.

“This could be it,” said Robert Beelman, a Penn State food scientist who has spent more than a decade working with mushrooms. If this study is successful, mushrooms could provide your body with almost the entire daily required of Vitamin D. In order to get that from other foods, for example milk, an adult would have to drink about 40 glasses a day.

Today, mushroom farmers typically grow the mushrooms indoors in the dark, switching on fluorescent lights only at harvest time. That means they now contain negligible amounts of vitamin D. Research suggests that if mushrooms are exposed to UV light following harvest they synthesis Vitamin D.

Beelman said his research has shown that exposing growing mushrooms to three hours of artificial UV light increases their vitamin D content significantly. The only drawback is that the white button mushrooms — like people — tend to darken with increased UV exposure.

BakuSun & The Globe and Mail

My questions is, how many of you would still buy and eat white mushrooms if they contained significant amounts of Vitamin D, but were turned slightly brown in the process? Does having a snow white mushroom matter in this type of situation?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Make Room for Shrooms

"Plenty of varieties available to add flavour to any dish


There is one ingredient -- once considered gourmet, but now part of our everyday cooking -- that never fails to add great flavour to a dish.

The mushroom.

In Canada there is a thriving mushroom-growing industry, with white mushrooms the leader in production. They come in three sizes, the prized "button," regular medium, and jumbo, ideal for stuffing. A second version of this mushroom is brown, known as a crimini. Firmer than its white counterpart, the crimini has a slightly more intense meaty flavour. Both mushrooms can be eaten raw and cooked, and are as delicious in a salad as they are in a stir-fry or ragout.

For a long time, these were the only kind of mushrooms we saw in the market. But, then, kaboom! The neat little white and brown mushrooms were joined by a coterie of different looking -- and some would say more interesting -- mushrooms. The portobello surprised us all with its size -- it's the largest of all domestic mushrooms, and in fact is just a well developed brown or crimini mushroom. Because portobellos are larger and older, they have lost some of their moisture, deepening their earthiness and meaty flavour. Portobellos are the ultimate stuffed mushrooms, beloved at barbecue parties where they offer a much appreciated and stylish vegetarian alternative to grilled meat and poultry. Many cooks like to scrape out the gills, the pleated darker underbelly of the fungus, before brushing with olive or canola oil, seasoning with salt and pepper, and arranging over the coals.

Then, getting more exotic, came two more mushrooms. The oyster, all pearly grey and velvety and shaped like their name. It's great on the grill, just lightly brushed with olive oil and dressed with a little garlic, salt and pepper.

Shiitake mushrooms, familiar in their dried form by anyone who cooks Chinese food, are the most expensive of the newest mushrooms, and generally only the cap is used as the stem is too tough. However, this is the mushroom to use when mushrooms have a starring role in a dish, rather than playing backup. In many Asian dishes, and frequently in salads, we see the white skinny and very leggy enoki -- so charming to float over consomme or toss in a salad.

All of these mushrooms were originally wild and their cultivation has broadened our choices for delicious meals.

This is a spring stew that is delicious over rice or noodles, or for a dramatic presentation, in split pop-overs.

2 tbsp. (30 mL) canola oil (approximate)
3 lb. (1.35 kilos) boneless stewing veal, trimmed
2 tbsp. (30 mL) butter
3 medium onions, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
4 cups (1 L) sliced white mushrooms or shiitake caps
2 cups (500 mL) sodium- reduced chicken stock or broth
1/4 cup (50 mL) each chopped fresh dill and flat leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. (5 mL) chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) crumbled dried
1 tsp. (5 mL) salt
1/4 tsp. (1 mL) freshly ground pepper
4 tsp. (20 mL) each flour and soft butter
1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream
Fresh dill sprigs

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat half of oil over medium-high heat. Brown veal, in three batches, adding more oil as needed. Transfer browned pieces to a large plate as you work. Drain off any fat.
Melt 2 tbsp. (30 mL) butter in same pan. Add onions, garlic, carrots and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms; saute until liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.
Return veal and any accumulated liquid to pan. Stir in stock and use it to scrape up any brown bits from bottom. Stir in dill, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partially covered until veal is tender, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, blend together flour and soft butter; stir it into liquid around veal, stirring until liquid thickens evenly.
(Make ahead: Let cool for 30 minutes in shallow container. Refrigerate uncovered until cold; cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat to continue.)
Stir in cream; heat through and season to taste if desired. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs.
Serves 8.

This recipe combines fresh white or crimini mushrooms with dried porcini or morels. This classic recipe is an easy-to-make starter.

1 (14 g) pkg. dried porcini or morel mushrooms
2 tbsp. (30 mL) canola oil
3 cups (750 mL) sliced white button mushrooms or shiitake caps
6 green onions, green and white parts separated and both thinly sliced
6 cups (1.5 L) sodium- reduced chicken stock or broth
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Pinch freshly ground pepper

Rinse dried mushroom; place in a large liquid measuring cup. Cover with 1 cup (250 mL) boiling water; cover and let mushrooms hydrate until soft and plump, about 20 minutes. Reserving liquid, drain through coffee filter or cheesecloth-lined sieve. Slice mushrooms thin and set both mushrooms and liquid aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add button mushrooms and white part of onions. Fry until mushrooms tender and liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
Add stock, mushroom soaking liquid and rehydrated porcini mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce and pepper. (Make ahead: Let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate uncovered until cold; cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat to continue.) Ladle into warmed soup bowls; sprinkle with green part of green onions.
Serves 6 to 8.

Even though watercress is available all year round in Toronto, it is still a harbinger of spring.

1/3 cup (75 mL) canola oil
1 tbsp. (15 mL) lemon juice
1 tsp. (5 mL) Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. (1 mL) each salt and freshly ground pepper
11/2 cups (375 mL) thinly sliced white or cremini mushrooms
1 tbsp. (15 mL) minced fresh parsley
1 tbsp. (15 mL) snipped chives
4 cups (1 L) loosely packed watercress, no coarse stems (about 1 to 12 bunches)

In a salad bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Add mushrooms, parsley and chives. Toss to coat mushrooms evenly. (Make ahead, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.) Add watercress; toss lightly and serve right away.
Serves 6.

Note: A few enoki mushrooms added as garnish would not be amiss in this salad.

The paper bag is key to letting the mushrooms breathe and preventing them from turning into crisper slime. Like all fresh produce, buy what you plan to eat within a few days. The mushrooms may surprise you by lasting longer, but to be fair to them -- and to appreciate them at their best -- buy and enjoy."


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mushroom and Cheese Squares

"Mushroom and Cheese Squares

Preparation Time: 15 mins. Cooking Time: 25 mins.

This is an easy brunch dish to make ahead of time OR cut in smaller squares for a party.

1 tbsp butter 15 mL
8 oz thinly sliced fresh mushrooms (white, crimini or shiitake)
250 g
1/4 cup Each diced red pepper and green onion 50 mL
1/2 tsp Each dried crumbled rosemary and thyme leaves
2 mL
1/4 tsp pepper 1 mL
6 eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
50 mL
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 mL
2 cup shredded old white Cheddar or Gruyere cheese 500 mL

In medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat and sauté mushrooms 3-4 minutes; add peppers, onion, rosemary, thyme and pepper. Continue to cook and stir about 2 minutes, remove from heat and set aside. In large bowl whisk eggs; mix flour with baking powder and whisk into eggs. Stir in mushroom mixture and cheese. Pour into lightly greased 9”(22 cm) square baking pan. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let stand at least 5 minutes or longer before cutting into 6 rectangles for main course OR 1”(2.5 cm) squares for appetizers. Serve hot, room temperature or cold.Makes 6 main course servings or 42 appetizers

Tip: Reheat in low oven or on medium power in microwave."

Recipe Courtesy of Mushrooms Canada

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mushrooms Are Full of Minerals

Mushrooms Are Full of Minerals

When you think of vegetables that have tons of minerals do you picture leafy greens, spinach and other green vegetables like broccoli and asparagus? Well, next time think White! Yes, the mushroom is full of important minerals your body needs for healthy development.

Not only does a 1/2 cup of mushrooms satisfy your one daily serving of Fruits and Vegetables as recommended by Canada's Food Guide, but it also provides tons of minerals.

Here, I’ve listed the nutrient amounts and % Daily Values (%DV) of these important minerals for a 100 gram serving of uncooked, white button mushrooms.

16% DV (0.3 mg)
• Found in all body tissues, with the bulk in the liver, brain, heart and kidney.
• An essential micronutrient that plays a role in making hemoglobin.
• Also involved in energy production.

3% DV (0.5 mg)
• A component of hemoglobin and myoglobin and is important in oxygen transfer.
• A component of numerous enzymes.
• About 70% is found in hemoglobin, about 25% is stored in liver, spleen and bone.

2% DV (9.0 mg)
• Macronutrient with 50% found in bone and the other 50% almost entirely inside body cells.
• Serves as an important part of more than 300 enzymes responsible for regulating many body functions including energy production, making body protein and muscle contraction.
• Also helps maintain nerve and muscle cells.

9% DV (86.0 mg)
• A component of every cell and other important compounds including DNA and RNA which are responsible for cell growth and repair.
• Part of phospholipids present in every cell membrane in the body.
• Is a major component of bones and teeth.
• Important for pH regulation.

9% DV (318 mg)
• Helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of body cells.
• Helps maintain blood pressure.
• Important for muscle contraction and transmission of nerve impulses.

13% DV (9.3 mcg)
• Is involved in fat metabolism.
• Acts as an antioxidant with vitamin E.

3% DV (0.5 mg)
• Helps the body use carbohydrate, protein and fat.
• A constituent of many enzymes and insulin.
• Promotes cell reproduction, tissue growth and repair. Adequate zinc intake is essential for growth.
• Involved in immune function.
• Also plays many important structural roles as components of proteins.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mushrooms Are Packed with Vitamins

Mushrooms Are Packed with Vitamins

Most people think that mushrooms have no nutritional value. "How could they be nutritious when they are grown in... you know what!" is the most common response that I get when I tell people that they are infact very good for you.

Not only does a 1/2 cup of mushrooms satisfy your one daily serving of Fruits and Vegetables as recommended by Canada's Food Guide, but it also provides lots of B Vitamins.

Here, we’ve listed the nutrient amounts and % Daily Values (%DV) of these important water-soluble vitamins for a ½-cup serving of cooked, sliced white button mushrooms.


11 mcg (3% DV)
• Plays an essential role in building new body cells, by helping to make DNA and RNA.
• Works with vitamin B12 to form hemoglobin in red blood cells. Prevents megaloblastic anemia.
• The DRI for women of child-bearing age is 400 micrograms. Folate is essential for lowering the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida in developing fetuses.


2.2 mg (11% DV)
• Important for the metabolism of carbohydrate and fatty acids.
• Acts as a coenzyme or cosubstrate in many biological reduction and oxidation reactions. Required for energy metabolism.
• Helps enzymes function normally.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
0.8 mg (8% DV)
• Acts as a coenzyme in fatty acid metabolism.• Has numerous other essential roles in energy metabolism.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
0.25 mg (15% DV)
• Required for the metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids and lipids, and supports antioxidant protection.
• Changes the amino acid tryptophan in food into niacin.
• Enzyme cofactor fundamental to all areas of metabolism particularly that of carbohydrate and fatty acids.

Thiamin (vitamin B1)
0.05 mg (3% DV)
• Plays essential roles in carbohydrate metabolism and neural function.

Vitamin B6
0.02 mg (1% DV)
• Primarily involved in metabolism of amino acids.
• Helps produce other body chemicals including insulin, hemoglobin and antibodies that fight infection.

So eat up your mushrooms! They are packed full of great vitamins that are vital to your well being.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

How Oyster Mushrooms Are Grown

How Oyster Mushrooms Are Grown

Pleurotus ostreatus or Oyster Mushrooms, as most of us know them as, are another one of the great edible species of mushroom. And luck for us they are cultivated right here in Canada.

Oyster mushrooms get their name from both English and Latin languages. Pleurotus in Latin meaning sideways, which refers to the sideway growth of the mushroom, and ostreatus in English meaning oyster.

So how do they grow? Like other mushrooms, oyster mushrooms are grown in a sterilized, bio-secure facility. These facilities differ from other mushroom varieties because more humidity and fresh are is required. Like shiitake mushrooms, oysters grow well on a wide range of agricultural waste products like hardwood chips, chopped cereal straws, or ground corn cobs.

After this mixture of growing materials is pasteurized and cooled, it is inoculated with the mushroom spawn. It is then packed into long tube shaped plastic bags. Holes are punched in the plastic to allow for the mycelia to breath. These long bags are then hung in environmentally controlled growing rooms. After about 14 days, the mushrooms have grown out of the holes in the sides of the bags; they are now ready to be harvested.

Like all mushrooms, oysters are also harvested by hand. The picker will go around to each hanging bag and gently cut off the oysters that are the right size. This also adds space where more oyster mushrooms can grow.
After all the mushrooms are harvested the growing medium, or spent mushroom substrate, can be used as an environmentally safe fertilizer, great for lawns, gardens and farmers fields.

There are several different kinds of mushrooms within the oyster family, the most popular commercially grown varieties are grey, yellow, brown, black, white and pink. They are all grown the same way, they are just a different strain of spore, and are “fed” different nutrients in their substrates.

After harvest the oyster mushrooms are then delivered to your local grocery store, ready to hit your plate.

Mmmmmm…. Delicious!

Stay tuned, as we discover how enoki mushrooms are grown.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Make Room for Fresh Mushrooms

"Make Room for Fresh Mushrooms
Eat Well with Mushrooms and Canada’s New Food Guide.

It’s here! Canada has a new Food Guide to Healthy Eating and it’s chock full of delicious and nutritious guidelines and tips to keep you and your family eating healthy and enjoying some flavorful food. And that includes fresh mushrooms - from the wonderfully versatile white button mushroom to rich and meaty Portabellas to delicate and crunchy Enoki.

The Vegetables and Fruit group is now the most prominent arc in the rainbow on Canada’s Food Guide, which highlights the significant role they play in a healthy eating pattern. Vegetables and fruit have many important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fibre. What’s more – a healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruit may help reduce the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.

Mushrooms make an excellent Vegetables and Fruit choice as they are very low in fat, cholesterol-free and low in sodium. They are satisfying and also add wonderful flavor and taste to any dish. Think juicy steak with some sizzling and wonderfully smoky grilled mushrooms on the side, fragrant risotto dotted with morsels of delightfully earthy Crimini and shiitakes or a crisp Asian salad crowned with spectacular creamy Enoki mushrooms. White button and criminis are even great raw paired with a low-fat dip for dunking. Even better, mushrooms can be prepared with very little fat or none at all when they’re baked, grilled or steamed. What’s more, fresh mushrooms are available year-round and are grown locally so you’re ensured of top quality, taste and nutrition.

A half-cup serving of sliced, cooked, fresh mushrooms counts as one of your daily Vegetables and Fruit choices and is a source of phosphorus, potassium, copper and pantothenic acid as well as a good source of selenium and the vitamins riboflavin and niacin. Mushrooms also contribute to the dietary intake of fibre and other important nutrients such as iron, calcium, folate and zinc. And at only 14 calories per serving, mushrooms are a boon when you’re watching your weight. There truly is nothing but good stuff in a mushroom.

For more marvelous mushroom facts and recipes visit Mushrooms Canada. To download your personalized copy of Canada’s Food Guide go to"

Written by Janice Daciuk MS, RD
Culinary Nutritionist, Healthy Baking Enthusiast, and Food Writer.

Not to be reproduced without prior consent from the author.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Fun with Mushrooms

Fun with Mushrooms

How do you get your kids to eat mushrooms? Play with them? Make them into funny characters with carrot stick legs and red pepper eyes? Or hide them under that thick layer of cheese on their pizza? No matter what way you try to get them to eat them, they always seem to make it from their plate to the garbage (or in my case, onto my plate).

Now back-up. Start again. Let’s try to first get them interested in mushrooms, then maybe, just maybe they might request them at the next family dinner.

Here are some great mushroom activities that will not only get the kids involved with mushrooms, but will create an interest that just might spread to their dinner plate.

Mushroom Spore Prints
Fun, easy and educational, this activity shows the kids how, like other fruits and vegetables, mushrooms have “seeds” too. See what kind of spore prints your kids can make.
- Large Portabella mushroom with dark visible gills
- White sheet of paper
- Large Glass Bowl
- Hairspray

Make this activity fun by asking your kids to come to the grocery store with you to pick out their portabella mushroom. When you are ready to start cut the mushroom stem off just below the cap, so that it sits flat. Place the mushroom cap side up (gill side down) on a white sheet of paper and cover the cap with a glass bowl. Leave it covered, undisturbed for 24 hours, which could be hard, the kids are really going to want to take a peek. Carefully remove the bowl and remove the mushroom cap from the paper. Voila, your first mushroom spore print. Be sure to stray the paper with a thin layer of hairspray, this will keep all the mushroom spores intact. Let the kids colour them, frame them or just post them on the fridge.

Mushroom Art
This activity works best with the agaricus mushrooms; white, crimini, and portabella, the bigger the better. This one could get messy with the little ones. Use a tempera paint for easy clean-up.
- Slice a mushroom into halves from the cap down through the stem.
- Use the halves to dip into tempera paint and make mushroom prints.
- Let them dry, then hang them on the fridge or frame them.

Mushroom Surgery
Get the kids doctor kit out, it’s time to play mushroom surgery. This activity it suitable for all the varieties of mushroom, and dressing up as a doctor makes it that much more fun. Ask the kids if they can identify the following parts on the mushrooms:
- Cap
- Stem
- Veil
- Gills
Using the different varieties will mix things up a bit. Keep them whole or cut them up. Bring in a microscope or magnifying glass for a real close look. Ask the kids to describe what they see. You could even use these mushrooms later in a mushroom medley sauté, provided they are not too handled.

Now, take a step back and admire all the hard work you have done. With all these great activities you might be one step closer to actually getting the kids to eat mushrooms.

Find great parent and teacher mushroom resources, and fun kids activities online at

Friday, February 2, 2007

How Shiitake Mushrooms Are Grown

How Shiitake Mushroom Are Grown

Shiitake Mushrooms, or Lentinus Edodes as they are known by their technical name, certainly pack a punch when it comes to their great Umami flavour, brightening up any meal you serve them with. But where are they before they hit your dinner plate? And even before they hit the grocery store? Let’s find out just where shiitake mushrooms come from.

Shiitake mushrooms were originally cultivated on natural oak logs, a process which took two to four years to initiate. This process was so lengthy because it can take up to four years for the mycelium to colonize the wood sufficiently enough to produce fruiting. When the mushrooms did fruit it was on a seasonally basis; fall and spring. This would usually last about 6 years. With new technology mushroom farmers are now able to create artificial logs that produce shiitake mushrooms much faster.

Oak sawdust, straw, corn cobs and other organic materials are mulched up and packed into a poly bag where it is sterilized and inoculated with spawn. These bags are place in environmentally controlled rooms, where the humidity and light are set at the ideal growing conditions for shiitake mushrooms. These man-made logs will start to produce shiitakes in seven weeks. Once the shiitake have started to fruit, it takes another 7 days for them to be ready for harvest. Once a log is completely harvested and the first flush is finished, the log is soaked in ice cold water for about 1 hour. This re-actives the mushroom mycelia causing the log to start fruiting again. This new process will take about 4 months compared to the six year cycle on natural logs.

Shiitake mushrooms are harvested by hand, so you know you are getting quality, and delivered to your local grocery store within 12 hours of being picked.

Contrary to popular belief the shiitake mushrooms that you buy in Canada are not imported from Asian countries, but are grown right here in Canada. Now you know that they are definitely fresh.

Stay tuned, as we will discover how oyster mushrooms are grown.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sauteed Marinated Mushrooms

Easy and Tasty. This sauteed marinated mushroom recipe is simple. Follow along with Chef Gordon Ramsey as he makes this delicious mushroom dish. Enjoy this dish hot or cold, with a nice crusty roll.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Gardens Love SMS

Gardens Love SMS

What helps your lawn, shrubs, garden and trees, offers environmentally friendly ways to recycle, and comes from the nearest mushroom farm? Spent mushroom substrate or SMS for short. It seems that every home owner on my block is striving to out-do the other with their green lawn, lush shrubs, and big, colourful flowers. And who is the only one on the block with the greenest lawn, bushiest shrubs and brightest flowers? Well me of course.

My secret is finally out, I use spent mushroom substrate.

I hear you asking, what exactly is SMS? Spent mushroom substrate is derived from 100% organic materials such as straw, peat moss, horse manure, corn cobs, soybean meal and gypsum. Once pasteurized this material becomes a substrate on which mushrooms will be grown. Because the growing needs of mushrooms and green plants is very different, very little of the substrates nutrients are used during the mushroom growing process. After the mushrooms are harvested the farmer is left with a nutrient filled substrate that is an ideal soil conditioner for outdoor gardening. Isn’t that amazing?

Now there are many other benefits to using SMS and not just to me, but the environment as well. Using mushroom compost in the garden helps to recycle a product which would otherwise be disposed of as waste. As the substrate itself is a recycled by-products from other industries, when spent mushroom substrate is used on a garden or lawn you are actually doubling the recycling. You also know those really hot summers when water bans start to take effect? Think of SMS, it stores of to 70% of its own weight in water. You can use less water, once again being kind to the environment, and still have a visually stimulating garden and lawn.

The most important part: how to properly use it. SMS can be used as a mulch, soil conditioner, and potting mix additive. Just mix it in with the existing soil or spread a thin layer out on the lawn, and you’re done. It is great for flowering gardens, trees and shrubs and vegetable and herb gardens.

Now all you gardeners out there you would probably like to know the analysis:
- pH 6.9
- Dry matter: 50.5%
- Organic Carbon 28.0%
- Nitrogen 1.8%
- Phosphorus 0.8%
- Potassium 1.6%
- Other organic material 17.3%
- Carbon: Nitrogen ratio 31.0

So now you know the secret to a great lawn and garden. Try SMS, your lawn and garden will please everyone at your next outdoor BBQ or picnic. There is nothing wrong with letting your friends think you have one amazing green thumb.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wild and Poisonous Mushrooms Identification Myths

Wild and Poisonous Mushrooms Identification Myths

My favourite mushroom quote would have to be “you can eat all mushrooms, some only once.” It is amazing how true this is.

With 10,000 known mushroom species in the world, and only a handful of them being edible, I wonder why people still take the chance and pick their own mushrooms.

Well let’s clear up some of the mushroom identification myths that I have heard over the years, as many of these “fool-proof” ways of testing are just not true:

Myth: Cook a mushroom and put a silver spoon into it. If the spoon is tarnished black, then the mushroom is poisonous.
Truth: Some poisonous species will not turn the spoon black.

Myth: Feed mushrooms to small animals like chickens or squirrels; if they eat it, it is not poisonous.
Truth: The toxins may be harmless to other organisms. Evidence that something else is eating the mushroom does not mean it is safe for humans to eat.

Myth: If you can peel, you can eat it.
Truth: Even poisonous mushrooms can be peeled.

All white mushrooms are safe to eat.
Truth: The most common deadly mushrooms are white (Amanita Group).

Myth: Poisonous mushrooms smell and taste awful.
Truth: Even the poisonous mushrooms have a pleasant taste. You might not know they were poisonous until the symptoms start to appear.

Myth: Poisonous mushrooms can be detoxified by boiling, drying, or pickling.
Truth: Neither cooking, canning, pickling, boiling, freezing, or drying a mushroom will change the chemical structure of the toxins.

Now let’s talk about some of the more true facts about mushrooms:

Fact: There are many mushrooms in the wild that are deadly. Even one bite can make you seriously ill.

Symptoms of mushroom poisoning are sometimes delayed by hours or even days after eating, when the toxins have begun to attack the liver and other organs.

Fact: Certain species can cause hallucinations, dizziness, drowsiness, dilated pupils, or muscle spasms. Other species cause severe vomiting and diarrhea, and sharp abdominal pain.

Fact: If you think that you have ingested poisonous mushrooms you should contact your local poison control center as soon as possible (Canadian Poison Control Centers).

Fact: Canadian Mushroom Farmers put out a great product that is available in all your local grocery stores.

This is why I never take any chances and buy my mushrooms from the local grocery store, they always have every mushroom that I need, and are always safe and delicious.

The Mushroom Lady takes no responsibility for the picking and consumption of wild mushrooms based upon the information stated above.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Mushrooms Have Umami

Mushrooms Have Umami

So what is Umami?

Umami is that extraordinary sensation that you feel after taking a bite of a thick juicy steak topped with mushrooms. It quickly wakes up your taste buds, and floods your mouth with flavour. Umami is none other than the fifth taste.

A fifth taste you ask? You may think that Umami is just as ordinary as the other tastes; sweet, salty, sour and bitter, but you would be wrong. Umami is a Japanese word meaning "savory" or "meaty" and thus applies to the sensation of savoriness.

This taste is triggered by foods that are heavy in a certain glutamate, such as mushrooms. This is similar to the sensation that is triggered when eating foods treated with monosodium glutamate. They taste fuller and better. Because mushrooms have this natural occurring glutamate, they enhance the flavour and extend the finish of the foods that they are served with.

Think of your last meal featuring mushrooms. Did it not taste just fantastic? That is Umami. So remember this unique and powerful taste next time you cook with mushrooms.

Courtesy of Mushrooms Canada is a Umami rich mushroom recipe that I think everyone should give a try, your taste buds will thank you for it.

Creamy Mushroom Sauce

This is the ultimate Umami sauce; serve with beef tenderloin, steaks or veal, pork or turkey scaloppini.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 10 minutes

2 tbsp butter 25 mL
2 tbsp minced shallots 25 mL
4 oz fresh mushrooms (white, crimini, shiitake 125 g
oyster, or portabella) stemmed and sliced
½ cup chicken broth 125 mL
½ cup Marsala wine 125 mL
2/3 cup whipping cream (35%) 175 mL
freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat butter over medium heat; sauté shallots for 1 minute; add mushrooms and cook 4-5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. Add broth and wine; bring to boil and cook until reduced by about half. Add cream and cook until sauce has thickened slightly about 2-3 minutes or until desired consistency. Return mushrooms and heat until hot. Serve over cooked meat.

Makes 4 servings

Tip: Substitute white part of green onions for shallots
Variation: Substitute brandy or sherry for Marsala wine.

Check out the Umami - Nature`s Flavour Enhancer Article on the Mushrooms Canada website.

Special Thanks to Mushrooms Canada for the use of this recipe

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The History of Mushrooms

The History of Mushrooms

One thing that I often wonder is how long have mushrooms been consumed by the human race? Food historians can tell us that prehistoric people most likely consumed mushrooms, both poisonous and edible. Let’s take a little trip back in time to discover the history and origins of the wonderful and delectable mushroom.

"Mushrooms and other large varieties of fungus have been eaten since earliest times, as traces of puffballs in the prehistoric lake dwellings of Switzerland, Germany, and Austria show; but not by everyone and not everywhere. The rarest and finest mushrooms, such as the truffle and the oronge, were highly esteemed in classical Greece and Rome, and have always been expensive...some mushrooms have been successfully cultivated for a long time. In classical times both Greeks and Romans grew the small Agrocybe aegerita...on slices of a poplar trunk. The Chinese and Japanese may have been growing shiitake on rotting logs for even longer. Modern European cultivation goes back to 1600, when the French agriculturist Olivier de Serres suggested a method in his work Le Theatre d'agriculture des champs. In 1678 another Frenchman, the botanist Merchant, demonstrated to the Academie des Sciences how mushrooms could be grown in a controlled way by transplanting their mycelia (filaments which spread through the soil underneath them like fine roots)."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press: Oxford] 1999 (p. 519, 521)[NOTE: This book contains separate entries for specific types of mushrooms...shiitake, enokitake, truffles, etc. If you need these details ask your librarian to help you find a copy of the book.]

"Cave drawings and paintings tell us hardly anything about the plants the cave dwellers ate, and it is even rarer to find them showing mushrooms, which does not mean that the latter never featured on prehistoric menus. Residues identified prove that other vegetables were in fact eaten, even if few felt any urge to depict them on cave walls. Morever, if we look at the dietary customs of contemporary peoples who are still at the Paleolithic or Neolithic stage of development, there is plenty of evidence of an interest in mushrooms both edible and poisonous. The latter can be used for hunting, fishing, or indeed for homicial purposes...The ancient Egyptians and Romans greatly enjoyed mushrooms...The Bible, although full of references to food of many kinds, never mentions mushrooms, either in praise or otherwise..."
---History of Food, Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat, tranlated by Anthea Bell [Barnes & Noble Books: New York] 1992 (p. 57) [NOTE: This book contains much more information on mushrooms than can be paraphrased here.]

"The first evidence that mushrooms were used as human food in prehistoric Europe is the recent find of a bowl of field mushrooms in a Bronze Age house near Nola in Italy. Mushrooms were gathered from the wild. Classical Greek authors tend to treat them as famine food, on the level with acorns. By Romans, however, they were so highly regarded that the Stroic writer Seneca gave up mushrooms (boleti) as unnecessary luxuries---an approach to the vegetarianism and asceticism that he toyed with. Recipes are suggested by Diphilus of Siphnos, in the third century BC, and in Apicius in the fourth century AD."
---Food in the Ancient World from A to Z, Andrew Dalby [Routledge:London] 2003 (p. 223)

“Mushrooms were also very popular in the civilizations of China, Egypt and Greece. Egyptian pharaohs and Roman emperors actually went so far as to forbid commoners from eating mushrooms; strictly reserving them for nobility only.”

About Portobello and Cremini
The food experts generally agree on three points when it comes to the history of portabellas:
1. This meaty mushroom is an American invention with Italian roots (spores, actually) made popular by clever marketing in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Both cremini and portobello mushrooms are first mentioned in the New York Times during the mid 1980s.
2. There are several theories regarding the name. Although these mushrooms are also currently enjoyed in fine dining establishments of Central/South America, there is no apparent connection between the town of Portobelo (Panama) the origination of the name or item.
3. There is no definitive spelling of this fungus. According to Google (not a scientific, but a popular survey), Portobello is preferred (169,000), followed by portabella (33,100) and portobella (3, 510).

"By the late 1800s...Italian growers also cultivated the common mushroom but preferring the brown-capped variety, which are often called cremini mushrooms (or Italian brown) and have an earthy flavor that is fine for soups and stews and for stuffing. The large and beefy Portabello (also Roma) is actually a fully grown cremini, with dense and meaty flesh that lends itself nicely to grilling or roasting. Originally, crimini mushrooms were imported from Italy, but now they are cultivated in the United States."
---Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple & Kriemhild Conee Ornelas [Cambridge University Press: Cambridge] 2000 Volume Two (p. 1818)

"The name "portobello" began to be used in the 1980s as a brilliant marketing ploy to popularize an unglamorous mushroom that, more often than not, had to be disposed of because growers couldn't sell them."
---The New Food Lover's Companion, Sharon Tyler Herbst, 3rd edition [Barrons:New York] 2001 (p. 485)

"Portobellos are popping up on the nation's menus like mushrooms after a spring rain. From soups and salads to sandwiches and entrees, the portobellos are everywhere. "It's a phenomenon in the food business," says Wade Whitfield of the Mushroom Council, an industry trade group in Roseville, Calif. "This thing has gone from nearly zero in 1993 to a predicted 30 million pounds this year. It's a major item. It will be the largest specialty mushroom." And chefs have found portobellos their own specialty. Whitfield of the Mushroom Council said no one can put their finger on the precise development of the portobello. "I've talked to several growers, and one said that he almost got fired once for growing those things," Whitfield notes. "They are really culls. You didn't want them in the mushroom bed. He would throw them away. There was no market. Growers would take them home."Farges adds that most of the mushroom farmers, many in southeastern Pennsylvania, were of Italian origin. They originally produced brown mushrooms, but the public clamored for the white button variety because it was clean and pristine. In the 1960s and 1970s, with the back-to-earth movement, the growers again started producing the browns. "They are sometimes called Romans, cremini or browns," Farges explains. "It has a much meatier flavor. It became a gourmet item. By accident, they found that if you let it grow, it would grow into a portobello." White mushrooms are still 90 percent of the supply, but portobellos have taken a bite of the market in the past four years. "More growers are converting operations from white to portobellos in their mushroom houses," says Whitfield, adding that the move leads to a reduction in price. With the increased popularity, however, comes a disagreement over the spelling of portobellos. Whitfield explains: "A great deal of the growers are of Italian descent. I don't know who named it, but I understand portabella means 'beautiful door.' With an instead of an 'a' in porto, it means 'beautiful port.'" The Mushroom Council prefers portabella, says Whitfield, but that's open to dispute. "To be honest, I've been here two and a half years, and portobellos were just coming on the scene," he says. "We had five varieties, and portobellos became the sixth. I got to the sticky little point of 'How do you spell it?' O's or A's? At the time I could identify six shippers who were selling portobellos. I called all six of them, and asked, 'How do you spell portobello?' Four out of six spelled it portabella."
---FOR MANY CHEFS, IT'S SUNRISE FOR PORTOBELLOS , By: Ruggless, Ron, Nation'sRestaurant News, 00280518, 5/13/96, Vol. 30, Issue 19

"The chubby cremino (if that is the singular; no one can be sure), properly encouraged by environmental conditions, will metamorphose to a portly portobello (also portabella), a name as difficult to document as cremini. I asked dozens who work with mushrooms, here and in Italy, about the name. The marketing director of a mushroom farm told me, "It was named after Portobello Road in London, where they sell fashionable things, you know." An importer said, "Until ten years ago, the mushroom was cappelaccio in Italy. Then it was renamed after a TV show called Portobello because it sounds better." Another importer told me that "portobello is known only in northern Italy, where it is called capellone." To one authority, capellone means "big hat." To the director of an Italian trade board and a dictionary it means "hippie." Two northern Italian chefs had never heard of capellone or cappelaccio. The most outlandish derivation came from an Italian distributor: "Well, you know that champignon comes from the word for Champagne, and that a Champagne cork looks like a round port and that's how we get porto bello - beautiful port."

Now we know. It is amazing to think that pharaohs regarded mushrooms as nobility only food, and that Japanese culture knew mushrooms could be used as medicine way before today’s research even identified mushrooms as a cancer preventative. Just Amazing.

Well I must thank for this wonderful and education trip back in time. Check out their website for more insight to when your favourite food got its start.