Posts Tagged ‘mushrooms’

Most people consume vegetables to reap the nutritional benefits.  While most vegetables are better raw, there are a few you should cook instead. Cooking releases nutrients that your body can more easily absorb.  Here are a few vegetables you may want to cook before you consume them.

  • Asparagus.  This springtime vegetable is full of cancer-fighting vitamins A, C and E.  Cooking asparagus  increases it levels of phenolic acid, which is associated with reduced risk of cancer.  Drizzle asparagus with olive oil and enjoy!
  • Carrots.  Our bodies seem to use more easily the beta carotene in cooked carrots than in raw ones.  Cut into rounds, steam, and serve with a little honey or cinnamon.
  • Mushrooms.  Microwaving or grilling can increase antioxidant activity.  After heating them up, slice and add to a salad or sauté and add to an omelet.
  • Tomatoes.  Lycopene is better absorbed when the food item is heated up. This may protect against cancer and heart disease.  Slow roasted in the oven at 200 degrees and added to a sandwich sounds delicious.
  • Spinach.  Oxalic acid may block the absorption of calcium and iron from raw spinach.  Heat is known to break it down.  Blanch spinach and served under grilled fish with salsa. 

Written by  Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by  Margaret Jenkins, OSU Extension Educator, Clermont County, jenkins.188@osu.edu




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mushroom kit

One of my co-workers received a mushroom kit as a Christmas gift last winter. They are becoming very trendy as “the gift that keeps on giving” because you can harvest 2-3 crops from the kit and they are an alternative to the more traditional fruit bouquets or cookie food gifts. If you enjoy gourmet mushrooms such as Portobello, Shiitake or Enoki varieties, you can grow them at home for a much lower cost.

Gourmet Mushroom Kits

Most mushroom growing kits usually consist of a 12 by 12 inch square block of compressed sawdust “medium” that has been enriched and inoculated with spawn of the particular mushroom variety being cultivated. Mushrooms, being fungi, do not grow like regular garden vegetables. They are generated from spores, not seeds. The growing medium may vary, depending on the type of mushroom in the kit. Manure and compost may also be used to start mushrooms.

Mushroom growing kits are low-maintenance. All they really need is fresh air, water, a decent location, and a little patience.

Harvesting Time

Once you harvest the first crop of gourmet mushrooms, you will probably generate 1-2 more crops. Allow the spawn to rest for a couple of weeks and then you can repeat the entire process to produce additional harvests.

The subsequent crops of mushrooms will tend to grow smaller and produce fewer mushrooms as the nutrients contained in the growing medium become depleted. Once the crops have finished producing, discard the compost (you can throw it in your mulch or dig it into garden beds). If you decide to get serious about growing your own mushrooms, you may want to take the next step which is growing mushrooms on logs.

Nutrition Tips

Mushrooms are high in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and counteract the bad effects of sodium in the diet. Mushrooms are low calorie and low carb; one cup of mushrooms contains about 15 calories and three grams of carbohydrates.  They are virtually fat-free.

If you like the big Portobello mushrooms, they can be used as a meatless entrée as well as a side dish. Portobellos have huge, flat, open caps that lend themselves extremely well to being grilled. Eat one in place of a hamburger or steak to reduce your saturated fat intake and lower your risk for heart disease.





Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu


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