Feature Friday Series: Mushroom Varieties – The White Button

In this New Feature Friday Series, we will explore all the different varieties of fresh mushrooms grown locally right here in Canada.

Today we are starting with the most popular mushroom in Canada, the White Button.
Name: Agaricus Bisporus

Description: White mushrooms come in petite, button, large, stuffer and griller.

Taste: The mildest tasting mushroom out of the bunch. The taste does become stronger with cooking.

Uses: Can be used with almost anything; it is so versatile.

How they Grow: Growing white mushrooms takes several weeks. First the mushroom farmer must prepare the substrate. The substrate is the food source for which mushrooms grow. This substrate is pasteurized at 160 F/71 C to kill bacteria.

Unlike other plants that grow from seeds, mushrooms reproduce through microscopic particles called spores. Spawn is made by inoculating a piece of sterile grain with mushroom spores. Farmers can buy spawn from a sterile laboratory where they are produced. The spawn is spread on trays of full substrate in rooms that are climate controlled to promote growth. The root system, consisting of a web-like mass called mycelium, allows the mushroom spores to receive nutrients in the substrate. The substrate is covered with a layer of peat moss.

Within three weeks small mushrooms appear through the peat moss, this is called “pinning”. One week after the mushrooms start pinning, they are ready to be harvested. Harvesting mushrooms is done by hand. Mushrooms are processed, packed and refrigerated quickly before being shipped torestaurants or food stores within 24 hours. The production process from substrate production to market takes approximately three months.

Delicious “White Button” Recipe Ideas:
Baked Eggs with Mushrooms
Mini Salmon Loaves
Oriental Roasted Salmon with Glazed Mushrooms

Feature Friday: Holiday Entertaining Made Easy with Mushrooms

Enjoy all the season has to offer, and surprise your guests with a tasty mushroom appetizer.

With holiday season in full swing, have you thought about what appetizers to serve at your next get together? Why not fresh Canadian mushrooms? Fresh mushrooms are easy to prepare, flavourful, elegant, and are sure to keep your guests entertained before dinner.

Mushroom Fondue
Fondue is back. Especially the melted Swiss cheese version served with fresh mushrooms, whole or halved. Skewer and dip mushrooms (whites and browns are delicious) into your favourite cheese fondue mixture. Serve with dry white wine and let the conversation begin.

Mushroom Bruschetta
Need something that you can prepare ahead? Combine 2 cups chopped assorted mushrooms with minced garlic, chopped fresh parsley, fresh basil, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and pepper to taste. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Spoon onto lightly toasted slices of fresh bread. Sprinkle with grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Broil until mushrooms are cooked and cheese melts.

Mushroom Dippers
Use fresh whole or thick sliced mushrooms for dipping instead of crackers or chips. They’re nutritious, great for the calorie conscious and delicious.

Mushroom Kebabs
Thread mushrooms onto several bamboo skewers; brush with oil and broil, turning often. Remove mushrooms from skewers onto platter. Serve hot, with a ranch style dressing for dipping. Tasty and simple.

No matter what recipe you use, your guests will be not only entertained but also amazed by the versatility of the mushroom.

posted by Brittany

Feature Friday: Concerned about Immunity?

Your immune system is your body’s first line of defense against disease and infection. A healthy immune system is important at every age. A strong immune system helps protect against infections from bacteria and viruses.

There are many ways you can keep your immunity boosted. Getting enough sleep, keeping stress levels in check, exercising every day and being at a healthy weight will go a long way to maximize your wellness. Good nutrition is also essential for maintaining the immune system in top shape. Including a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods in your diet gives your body the nutrition it needs to help protect against illness and lower the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Fresh Mushrooms Can Help!

Boosting Immunity with Mushrooms

  • A 2006 study found that the beta-glucan, a polysaccharide that is part of the soluble fibre found in mushrooms, had potential anti-inflammatory activity, which may help protect the body against disease.
  • Mushrooms extracts may also stimulate different cells of the immune system.

Vitamins and Minerals

  • A 2000 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that elderly subjects who were deficient in vitamins and minerals, including selenium, zinc, vitamin B6 and folate, also had fewer and less effective natural killer cells.
  • A ½ cup serving of uncooked, white button mushrooms is a good source of niacin, copper, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. You’ll also get some vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate and zinc.

Adding up the Antioxidants

  • Ergothioneine is a naturally occurring antioxidant found in mushrooms that may also help protect the body’s cells. Ergothioneine is found in both raw and cooked mushrooms.

Looking for more information on how mushrooms boost your immune system? Check out these news stories:
Boost your immune system ~ Calgary Herald
Ten flu-fighting foods ~ Chicago Tribune
Eat these foods and feel better ~ Freep

posted by Brittany
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Feature Friday: Fresh Mushrooms on Grand River Living

Interested in where your fresh mushrooms come from? Then check out Maribel Linfield’s interview with Whitecrest Mushroom Farm owner Murray Good.

Murray explains the whole process of mushrooms growing, and debunks a few myths along the way.

Then roll up your sleeves and throw on an apron, it’s cooking time with me! I show Maribel how easy it is to prepare my favourite recipe, Sweet and Spicy Stir-Fried Mushrooms.


posted by Brittany

Feature Friday: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, 22,700 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer is 2009. Sadly, 5,400 will die of it.

The good news is, research shows 30 to 35 percent of all cancers can be prevented by eating well, being active and not being overweight. Along with physical activity and not smoking, healthy eating is one of the cornerstones for cancer prevention.

According to research conducted at the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope in Duarte, Calif., linoleic acid extracted from mushrooms suppressed growth of hormone dependent breast tumors in mice.The links between mushrooms and breast tumors are:

  • mushrooms contain linoleic acid
  • linoleic acid inhibits aromatase
  • aromatase suppresses estrogen
  • estrogen is a hormone associated with tumor cell production

The strongest anti-aromatase activity was from large white “stuffer” mushrooms.
Shiitake, white button mushrooms, portabella, crimini and baby button mushrooms also showed significant inhibitory effects.

The Beckman scientists suggest that a 100 g (3.5oz) serving of mushrooms per day would help suppress breast tumor growth in women. However, much more research, including human studies, needs to be done before any specific recommendations can be made.

Healthy eating is one of the cornerstones of cancer prevention, along with being active, not being overweight, and not smoking. As they are low in calories and fat, have very little carbohydrate and provide some fibre, fresh mushrooms are a delicious way to eat healthy.

More on mushrooms and breast cancer can be found here:
So your concern is Breast & Prostate Cancer ~ Mushrooms Canada
Breast & Prostate Cancers ~ Mushrooms Canada
Researchers study mushrooms’ cancer-fighting potential ~ City of Hope
What is Breast Cancer? ~ Canadian Cancer Society

posted by Brittany