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.