Mushrooms can be found in the refrigerator of most kitchens and on the plates of most restaurants and they are often stored along with the other vegetables.
But what is the classification of a mushroom? Are they technically vegetables?
Well, the short answer is no. They are actually a fungus, which is a subgroup all of its very own. They do not have the leaves that would classify them as a vegetable.
They also don’t reproduce in the same way as a vegetable and do not get their energy from the sun as plants do.
So why is a mushroom classed differently from a vegetable? Are they related to the fruit family at all? What are fungi and are they good for us to eat?
Well, we have all the information that you need on mushrooms so you can decide whether to use them in your next dish.
What Are The Different Categories Of Mushrooms?
Mushrooms are fungi, which means that they do not gain energy from the sun through chlorophyll, instead, they gain all the nutrition that they need from surrounding dead matter, such as trees and decaying plants.
There are a few other types of fungi that include yeasts and mold. Mushrooms can be divided up into 3 separate categories:
- Mycorrhizal mushrooms – These kinds of mushrooms are those that form a symbiotic relationship with a tree through its roots. Not only do they take nutrients, but they give back, helping to maintain a healthier root system for the tree.
- Parasitic mushrooms – These are mushrooms that simply feed off living matter without giving anything in return.
- Saprophytic mushrooms – These mushrooms feed on the dead matter of plants that have been drained of their nutrients by parasitic mushrooms.
The white and bulbous part of mushrooms that we consume is only a small part of the fungus that can lay dormant for quite some time until the right humidity and temperature cause them to ripen and sprout.
You could call the mushroom the fruit of the fungus itself, as it is the part that releases spores into the atmosphere that allows the fungus to propagate.
Are Mushrooms A Fruit Or A Vegetable?
As we have mentioned above, the white part of the mushroom, the part that we eat, is the fruit of the fungus, which mainly dwells inside the tree itself.
The mushroom is the fruit, as it is the part of the fungus that reproduces by releasing spores into the air.
These spores will then land on plant matter and start to take root, starting the whole cycle again.
The only difference between fungus and fruit is that fungi do not need another plant to pollinate.
Why Do We Cook Mushrooms Like Vegetables?
Because mushrooms are cooked in the same way as a lot of vegetables, whether frying or baking, they are lumped into the same category.
This is because we don’t need scientific nomenclature for cooking, so it is easier to refer to them as vegetables.
All that matters when you are cooking is what the result will taste like. You can also cook mushrooms with any other vegetables without any adverse effects.
However, you will normally need to add mushrooms towards the end of the process, as they cook very fast.
Large mushrooms such as Portabellos are often used as substitutes for beefburgers and hot dogs. They are thicker and will require a lot more cooking time.
You can melt cheese on these mushrooms without ruining their constitution. You can also dice up larger mushrooms and use them in chili or curry.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Mushrooms?
Mushrooms have many health benefits that you wouldn’t find in other vegetables. They are high in things like copper, vitamin D, selenium, and B vitamins.
They contain anti-aging properties, have antioxidants, and certain breeds of mushroom help to boost your immune system.
Mushrooms can also help to promote physical function and will help with your body’s natural movements and reduce stress.
When it comes to antioxidant levels, mushrooms are higher than a lot of other vegetables, such as green beans, carrots, tomatoes, and peppers.
The fact that you can cook mushrooms without them losing any of their immune-boosting properties is amazing.
How Can You Get More Mushrooms In Your Diet?
There are plenty of ways that you can smuggle mushrooms into your diet. One of the purest forms of mushrooms comes in tea.
You can also take organic mushroom supplements that will help to raise the antioxidant levels in your body.
But if you want the full juicy flavor of mushrooms, then we would suggest cooking them and adding them to your meal.
You can enjoy mushrooms in a wide variety of dishes: curries, stews, salads, pizza, pasta, the list goes on!
You can even have mushrooms all by themselves. Fry them for a few minutes in butter and salt and you can enjoy them as a delicious appetizer for your main meal.
What Types Of Mushrooms Are There?
There are many different types of mushrooms that you can buy from the store, although some are easier to obtain than others. Here are a few types of mushrooms:
- Button Mushrooms – these are small and white and probably the most popular type of mushroom used for cooking.
- Cremini mushrooms – these dense and brown mushrooms are smaller versions of portabello mushrooms. They are used in spicy dishes.
- Portobello – these are very large mushrooms that are often used as substitutes for meat burgers or vegetarian patties.
- Shiitake mushrooms – These mushrooms can be purchased dry or whole and they make great additions to stir fry, with a nutty and aromatic taste.
- Oyster mushrooms – These mushrooms have a very subtle taste and are often used in stir-fries and soups.
We hope that we have clarified the identity of the mushroom as well as what they contain so that you can make a more informed decision about whether or not to add them to your dishes.
- Are Oreos Vegan? - May 26, 2023
- What Is Mutton? - May 26, 2023
- What Does Matcha Taste Like? - May 26, 2023