Archive for the ‘Mushroom’ Category

Button, Cremini, and Portabella Mushrooms – Agaricus bisporus

Cremini Mushrooms

Cremini Mushrooms

…So here’s to the mushroom family
A far-flung friendly clan
For food, for fun, for poison
They are a help to man.

By Gary Snider

The little white Button Mushrooms, the slightly larger brown Cremini Mushrooms, and the large, brown Portabella Mushrooms are all the same mushroom…the only differences being color variety and stage at which it is harvested.

In 1707 French botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort wrote the earliest found description of this mushroom. In 1893 at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France it was discovered that the spores needed to be sterilized for the culture to grow. Up until that time it was very difficult to cultivate mushrooms, since the farmers would dig them up out of fields to transplant and they were often infected by pathogens and often nothing grew at all.

In 1926 a white mutation was found in a mushroom farm in Pennsylvania. It was seen as more attractive, and so the popular white button mushroom came into popularity. Now the southeast corner of Pennsylvania is considered the mushroom growing capitol of the world!

The Button form of this mushroom is probably the most well known mushroom in the US. Most people when they hear the word mushroom visualize the button mushroom first, even if they are familiar with other varieties. The small button mushroom has a mild flavor which is best if eaten before the veil protecting the gills is broken. Once the veil is broken they are stronger in flavor and cook up darker in color. This common mushroom can be found at the grocer, fresh, canned or dried. It can be found in soups and stew, on pizza, salads, casseroles, and stuffed. They are eaten as a main course, appetizer, or side dish.

Research is being carried out currently to further study the effect of mushrooms on aromatase levels. It may be able to reduce estrogen levels in the female body, which might reduced the breast cancer susceptibility. Women who ate mushrooms daily (in the earlier study) were 64% less likely to develop breast cancer. While women who ate the mushrooms and drank green tea reduced the risk by 90%! Another study showed promise in improving the body’s immune system.

In ancient times mushrooms were eaten in Egypt but only by the Pharaohs. In Rome they believed that mushrooms provided strength to the body. In magic use eat mushrooms to increase psychic awareness.

Shiitake Mushrooms – Lentinula edodes

Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake Mushrooms

Browned butter sizzles;

Sliced shiitake in the pan;

Mouthful of heaven.


By Dr.Arnold Langsen

 This mushroom of East Asia is native to Korea, China and Japan. They grow on host trees such as the Shii tree (Castanopsis cuspidate), Asian oaks (Quercus) and beeches (Fagus) in the Orient. In the US chinkapin (Castanopsis), tan oak (Lithocarpus), or hornbeam (Carpinus) are also used. There is a growing utilization of artificial logs being used to grow Shiitake mushrooms to ensure year round availability. 


This mushroom has been under cultivation for over 1000 years. Wu Sang Kwuang was the first to write about the Shiitake, he was born during the Sung Dynasty (AD 960-1127). In China the mushroom was related to longevity and good health. It was during the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-1644) that a physician Wu Juei wrote that the mushroom should be used for more than merely food!


As a food Shiitake are used fresh or dried, they are included in many delightful dishes such as Buddha’s Delight, a vegetarian dish. They are included in Japanese Miso soup, vegetarian dashi, steamed and simmered dishes. In Thailand they are served fried or steamed. In Russia they are most often consumed pickled. This mushroom contains all 8 amino acids that humans need in beneficial proportions. They also contain Vitamins A, B, B12, C, D, and Niacin.


In Wu Juei’s writing he refers to the Shiitake as being used to treat respiratory diseases, poor circulation, liver issues, exhaustion, and weakness, and to boost qi (life force or energy). It has also been used as an anti-cancer agent with anti-tumor activity. It also boosts anti-viral action, anti-fungal properties, and has been used to reduce bronchial inflammation.