If you have the notion that not much goes on inside a mushroom, then we’ve got a surprise for you! Like humans, mushrooms convert sunlight into a usable form of Vitamin D, which aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, essential minerals for bone health and strength.
In addition to being one of the few foods to contain Vitamin D, mushrooms also contain selenium, potassium and other minerals. They also possess chemical compounds that have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Some of the other ways that mushrooms support health include antioxidant activity, supporting the body’s ability to manage cholesterol in the blood, and fighting inflammation.
In particular, portobello mushrooms deliver big on nutrition: one half-cup serving provides 100% of the recommended daily intake for Vitamin D. Portobello contains compounds called beta glucans within their cell walls. Beta glucans provide support for the immune system by activating your body to mount a defense against invaders.
Whether you choose the baby ‘bellos or the bigger portobello mushroom caps, keep these buying and storage tips in mind:
- Portobellos should be firm, but not hard and never gummy. It’s typical to see dirt residue, but you should not see mold. Ideally, you want to buy organic.
- Don’t store near odorous foods, such as onion or garlic, unless you want the fungi to absorb that flavor.
- After purchasing, immediately refrigerate in the original packaging for up to one week. After that, quality will diminish.
- Before using, wipe gently with a damp cloth. This will remove dirt and protect the delicate skins. It’s okay to gently rinse under cool water and drain. Do not soak.
- Store the unused portion in a brown paper bag; do not freeze uncooked portions; you can, however, freeze once sauteed.
These versatile fungi can easily be incorporated into even the most selective of diets. From glazed to grilled, raw to steamed, Portobellos are a must-have for a healthy diet. Enjoy raw portobello mushrooms in a salad, tossed into soups and stews, chopped into burgers or meatballs, or mixed into quiche and egg dishes, lasagna, and even dips. As wild as your culinary imagination may be, there are just as many new and exciting ways to dine with portobellos!