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Jewish Recipes --> Jewish and Israeli Foods --> Mushroom

mushroom (Old English muscheron, from the Old French mouscheron, French mousseron (same name in English, for a common kind of mushroom), itself perhaps from mousse, meaning moss) is an above-ground fruiting body (that is, a spore-producing structure) of a fungus, having a shaft and a cap; and by extension, the entire fungus producing the fruiting body of such appearance, the former consisting of a network (called the mycelium) of filaments or hyphae.

Kosher Mushrooms Recipes

In a much broader sense, mushroom is applied to any visible fungus, or especially the fruiting body of any fungus, with the mycelium usually being hidden under bark, ground, rotted wood, leaves, etc. The technical term for the spore-producing structure of "true" mushrooms is the basidiocarp. The term "toadstool" is used typically to designate a basidiocarp that is poisonous to eat.

Types of mushrooms

The main types of mushrooms are agarics (including the button mushroom, the most common mushroom eaten in the U.S.), boletes, chanterelles, tooth fungi, polypores, puffballs, jelly fungi, coral fungi, bracket fungi, stinkhorns, and cup fungi. Mushrooms and other fungi are studied by mycologists. The "true" mushrooms are classified as Basidiomycota (also known as "club fungi"). A few mushrooms are classified by mycologists as Ascomycota (the "cup fungi"), the morel and truffle being good examples. Thus, the term mushroom is more one of common application to macroscopic fungal fruiting bodies than one having precise taxonomic meaning.

Edible mushrooms are used extensively in cooking, in many cuisines. Though commonly thought to contain little nutritional value, many varieties of mushrooms are high in fiber and protein, and provide vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, B12 and ascorbic acid, and minerals including iron, selenium, potassium and phosphorus. However, a number of species of mushrooms are poisonous, and these may resemble edible varieties, although eating them could be fatal. Picking mushrooms in the wild is risky — riskier than gathering edible plants — and a practice not to be undertaken by amateurs. The problem is due to the fact that separating edible from poisonous species is dependent upon the application of only a few easily recognizable traits. People who collect mushrooms for consumption are known as mushroom hunters, and the act of collecting them as such is called mushroom hunting.

Edible mushroom

There are thousands of regularly harvested edible mushrooms in the world, in addition to literally hundreds of thousands of other potentially edible species. Some species are highly prized because they are not or cannot be cultivated and must be harvested from natural settings. Check safety rules under mushroom hunting, however, before assuming any wild mushroom is edible.

History of mushroom use

Mushrooms were so flavorful for the pharaohs of Egypt that they decreed mushrooms could only be eaten by royalty and no commoner could even touch them, thus giving the royal family the entire available supply. Many prehistoric and a few modern cultures around the world used psychedelic mushrooms for ritualistic purposes. Before 10,000 BCE while people were still hunting and gathering as a part of every day life, women did the gathering. Women were said to be blessed with the ability to see in the dim light so they were successful in foraging for mushrooms and fungi amongst other things. Mushroom cultivation reached the United States in the late 1800s with imported spores from England.

Common edible species

A few of the most commonly consumed fungi are:

  • Agaricus bisporus : also known as the button mushroom, the most extensively cultivated mushroom in the world, accounting for 38% of the world production of cultivated mushrooms.
  • Pleurotus species : The oyster mushroom and king trumpet mushroom. Pleurotus mushrooms are the second most important mushrooms in production in the world, 25% of total world production of cultivated mushrooms. Pleurotus mushrooms are world-wide, China is the major producer. Several species can be grown on carbonaceous matter such as straw or newspaper. In the wild they are usually found growing on wood.
  • Volvariella volvacea : the "Paddy straw mushroom." Volvariella mushrooms account for 16% of total production of cultivated mushrooms in the world.
  • Lentinus edodes : also known as shiitake, oak mushroom. Lentinus edodes is largely produced in Japan, China and South Korea. Lentinus edodes accounts for 10% of world production of cultivated mushrooms.
  • The porcini: Boletus edulis, also known as the king bolete, cep, and Steinpilz, is renowned for its nutty flavor. It is sought after worldwide, and can be found in a variety of culinary dishes.
  • The morel: morels belong to the ascomycete grouping of fungi. They are usually found in open scrub, woodland or open ground in late spring. When collecting this fungus, care must be taken to distinguish it from the poisonous false morel, Gyromitra esculenta.
  • The chanterelle: The yellow chanterelle is one of the best and most easily recognizable mushrooms, and can be found in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. Caution must be used, as there are several types of very poisonous (although not usually lethal) lookalikes.
  • Flammulina velutipes : the "winter mushroom", also known as enokitake in Japan
  • Tree ear fungus : Auricularia polytricha or Auricularia auricula-judae, two closely related species of jelly fungi that are commonly used in Chinese cuisine.
  • Snow fungus : Tremella fuciformis, another type of jelly fungi that is commonly used in Chinese cuisine.
  • The truffle: Tuber magnatum (Piemont white truffle), Tuber aestivum (Summer or St. Jean truffle), Tuber melanosporum (Perigord truffle), Tuber brumale. Truffles belong to the ascomycete grouping of fungi. The truffle fruitbodies develop underground in mycorrhizal association with certain trees e.g. oak, poplar, beech, and hazel. Being difficult to find, trained pigs or dogs are often used to sniff them out for harvesting.
  • Sulphur shelf: Laetiporous sulphureous. Also known by names such as the "chicken mushroom", "chicken fungus", sulphur shelf is a distinct bracket fungus popular among mushroom hunters.
  • Grifola frondosa : known in Japan as maitake (also "hen of the woods" or "sheep’s head"); a large, hearty mushroom commonly found on or near stumps and bases of oak trees, and believed to have medicinal properties.
  • Coprinus comatus : the shaggy mane. Must be cooked as soon as possible after harvesting or the caps will deliquesce and turn to ink. Only the fresh young caps and stems are edible as the mature caps will turn black and unappetizing.
  • Black fungi and white fungi, two tough, leathery cultivated mushrooms both with a delicate flavor, used for flavoring of soups and for decoration if thinly sliced.
  • Shiitake mushrooms An edible eastern Asian mushroom (Lentinus edodes) having an aromatic, fleshy, golden or dark brown to blackish cap and an inedible tough stipe.

Buy and Store

Select plump firm and solid mushrooms. Avoid the limp or dried looking ones. They should not be shriveled or slippery (which indicates decomposition).  The mushroom should have a nice earthy smell.

Remove the mushrooms from any wrapping and spread on a tray and cover with paper toweling.   Don't moisten the toweling or the mushrooms and place them in the refrigerator in an area that allows the air to circulate. Avoid placing any other items on top of them. The mushrooms should keep about 5 - 6 days.

Cooked Portabellas can be frozen and will keep for several months. Place in freezer containers or bags, excluding as much air as possible. (Uncooked mushrooms don't freeze well

Sept 2005 - 2014 - Kosher Recipes - Kosher Cooking - Jewish Cooking - Jewish Recipes - Jewish Foods- Jewish Foods
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Bagels.