Portobello mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus), which belong to the Cremini family of mushrooms, is actually an edible fungus and on my list for one of the most surprising Superfoods to be considered as such.
Portobello mushrooms are known by their large size, thick stem, and dark underside, and can grow up to 6 inches in diameter across the top. The smaller ones most visibly seen in supermarkets are “baby” portobello, or baby bella, mushrooms and are harvested when young.
This type of Cremini mushroom is a health surprise to most because it contains health benefits that most don’t even think about and this makes it one of the most underestimated when it comes to health benefits.
The health benefits these mushrooms provide are being recognized as even greater than that of shiitake and maitake mushrooms.
Portobello Mushroom Nutritional Benefits
Portobellos are fat-free, low in calories, and are becoming well-known for providing very good immune system health benefits. In recent studies, there seems to be a growing list of phytonutrients that positively impact the immune system in varying degrees.
These immuno-phytonutrients are protecting against arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer development, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure, first off. Much of these conditions are caused by unwanted inflammation and portobello mushroom phytonutrients seem to be good anti-inflammatory agents.
Antioxidants are also present in portobello mushrooms. Among the vitamins and minerals working together within them are high concentrations of copper, selenium, manganese, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, and varying amounts of Vitamin-D.
The presence of Vitamin-D itself is surprising because it was previously thought that only animal sources contained Vitamin-D. Some farmers use ultra-violet light to increase this vitamin in their mushrooms.
There are B vitamins, which add to their cardiovascular properties and the ability to lower high cholesterol, and even CLA, or Conjugated Linoleic Acid, which adds to their anti-cancer properties. CLA is a special type of fatty acid that has been shown to help lower the development of breast and prostate cancers.
Care to boost your fiber content? Mushrooms are good for that as they provide a moderate amount of fiber which is good for cholesterol and cardiovascular health.
Portobello mushroom nutrition make them a worthy candidate for a Superfood.
Portobello Mushrooms in the Kitchen
Mushrooms should always be cleaned first, with a dry towel or brush. I like to rinse them but they do absorb water so rinsing them depends on how much water absorption you can live with.
Absolutely do not freeze them as when they thaw, they will surely be water logged and ruined. The only time mushrooms can be frozen is if they are already dried. Also never store them in a dark cabinet or put them on the counter at room temperature.
The best place to store them is in a refrigerator around 38 degrees F, stored loosely in a paper bag or laid in a glass dish covered by a damp cloth. Mushrooms will keep if they are not touching each other to avoid clumping as well.
Portobello mushrooms are best sauteed, sliced or whole, for around 7 min so as not to avoid overcooking them, which can destroy much of the health benefits that they naturally provide. Use them as a side dish or a main dish. With the size of a large Portobello mushroom, it can easily be substituted for a burger.
I like to thinly slice and then saute my portobello mushrooms in extra virgin olive oil with salt and pepper to taste. They go great with most any kind of dish such as meats, poultry, seafood, and salads so they are very versatile and very tasty. They also make great plate decorations.
So now that you know that cremini portobello mushrooms are healthier for you then you may have previously thought, don’t be afraid to add these to your food shopping cart.