All mushrooms are fungi and typically live in soil or wood. The above the spoil portion of the mushroom - the portion we consume - is actually the fruit of the fungi. Unlike other members of the plant kingdom, mushrooms produce spores - instead of pollen or seeds - which allows them to spread by the wind.
There are many different edible and not edible (even poisonous) types of mushrooms. Actually alone in North America, there are about 11,000 named species of mushrooms. That's just the macrofungi, the fungi that are large enough to see easily.
Edible Mushrooms Used In Comfort Keto Recipes
Our Chef Janine of COMFORT KETO uses in her recipes a number of well-known edible species such as:
Button mushrooms: Also called baby mushrooms or white mushrooms, these are one of the most popular types of mushrooms found in grocery stores.
Cremini mushrooms: Actually part of the same species as button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus), but are a brown variation with a slightly deeper flavor.
Portobello mushrooms: These are the final full-grown stage of the button mushroom’s life. They are much larger than cremini or button mushrooms and have a more meaty texture, but still retain a mild flavor. They have their cap fully open, exposing the dark gills underneath.
Oyster mushrooms: They offer a mild and sweet flavor.
Chanterelle mushrooms: They have a distinctive bright yellow color and a sweet and peppery flavor that goes well with eggs.They last about 10 days in the fridge; longer than most other varieties of mushrooms.
Maitake mushrooms: These mushrooms are too tough to eat once they reach a certain size. They are used for their medicinal properties. They boost the immune system and help managing diabetes.
Enoki mushroom: Most commonly used in Asian cooking. They come in large clusters of tiny mushrooms with very long stems and small caps. They go nicely in soups, especially ramen.
Chef Janine also uses certain mushrooms in powder form in order to give umami flavor to certain recipes. These are:
Reishi mushroom (medicinal): Tough cork-like mushroom that grows on the side of trees. It is too tough to eat. It is the gold standard when it comes to medicinal mushrooms.
Lion's mane mushroom (medicinal): Grows in shaggy clumps on the side of trees and is actually edible. It has a stringy meat texture and a sweet savory flavor. It is purported to boost concentration and mood, keep the brain healthy, support the immune system, and decrease inflammation in the body.
Shiitaki mushrooms: They are commonly used in Asian cuisine. They are meaty in texture much like portobellos and have a more smoky, earthy flavor when cooked. They have medicinal benefits in traditional Asian medicine and are sold also dried.
All these types of mushrooms are available in major grocery chains, both fresh and dried form. Shop bought mushrooms are generally safe for most people, as long as you do not have an allergy to mushrooms or a mold allergy. Also, make sure that the mushrooms are always cooked before you consume them as only a few varieties are safe to eat raw.
Here is a very informative video on growing mushrooms.
More valuable information on how to consume and enjoy mushrooms safely.
Wild Mushrooms and Magic Mushrooms
We do not recommend wild mushroom foraging as it is definitely risky. Many varieties of wild mushrooms are not safe for human consumption.
Some varieties of mushrooms commonly referred to as "magic mushrooms," contain a compound called psilocybin. These cause hallucinations, sound and sight disturbance as well as muscle weakness, drowsiness and nausea. These are categorized as illegal to possess, or to sell.
Nutrition Value of Mushrooms
Edible mushrooms have a great nutritional value including high protein, essential amino acids, fiber, vitamins (B1, B2, B12, C, and D), minerals (calcium [Ca], potassium [K], magnesium [Mg], sodium [Na], phosphorus [P], copper [Cu], iron [Fe], manganese [Mn], and selenium [Se]), low fatty foods, and sodium.
An 80 gram serving – that’s approximately one 14 button mushrooms – provides:
Calories 6 Kcal Protein 0.8 grams Fat 0.2 grams Carbohydrates 0.2 grams Fiber 0.6 grams Potassium 302 miligrams Folate 32 micrograms
Health benefits of Mushrooms
Good Source of Vitamin D
Studies suggest that when exposed to sunlight, mushrooms increase their concentration of vitamin D. In fact, leaving your mushrooms out on the counter in direct sunlight for 15-60 minutes results in levels of vitamin D2 as high as 10 microgram per 100 gram fresh weight.
Loaded With Immune System Supporting Nutrients
Mushrooms contain B vitamins and the powerful antioxidant selenium, which support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues.
Mushrooms contain active polysaccharides, one of which is a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan. This compound activates your immune cells called macrophages (natural killer cells), increases your body’s ability to fight infection and possibly even stop the growth or progression of tumors.
Beneficial For The Management Of Neuro-degenerative Conditions
Certain varieties of mushrooms with specific healing properties are referred to as ‘medicinal.’ COMFORT KETO recipes use Lion’s mane and reishi in powder form. Both are considered medicinal, and are more often taken as a powder or supplement rather than eaten whole.
Beneficial for Heart Health
Edible and medicinal mushrooms have been shown to have anti-obesity effects. They also contribute nutrients and plant compounds that may help prevent blood vessel plaque build-up. This in turn helps protect the heart by maintaining healthy blood pressure and circulation.
Support Gut Health
Certain compounds contained in the mushrooms are prebiotic. They promote a healthy gut environment by feeding the beneficial gut bacteria, maintaining your immune defenses, and supporting the proper digestion of your food.
A healthy gut environment is important for the communication between the brain and the gut through the vagus nerve and balanced hormones.