Can You Eat Mushroom Stems?

by Charlie
Mushroom Stems

Mushroom is a spore-bearing, fleshy, and fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground, on soil, or its food source. During growth, mushrooms initially form a minute fruiting body, then slightly expanded, and finally, the mushroom can rapidly pull in water from its mycelium and expand. It progresses mainly by inflating preformed cells that take several days to form in the primordia.

There are a variety of mushrooms categorized as:

  • Edible mushrooms
  • Toxic mushrooms
  • Psychoactive mushrooms

So can you eat mushroom stems? Yes, you can. Keeping in mind that some stems are too woody to be eaten and have little to no flavor, there may be no point in keeping them. Fortunately, mushrooms like portobello, crimini, chanterelle, porcini, or white button mushrooms have delicious and edible stems. 

Are Mushroom Stems Bad for You?

When in your kitchen, you might realize the amount of waste accumulated from food preparation takes the most of your garbage bin. For instance, during mushroom preparations, you tend to throw out the stems since they may seem bad for you.

No, most mushrooms stems aren’t bad to eat. The good news is that you can incorporate them into your meals, thus reducing wastage and adding to your nutritious intake. It applies if you are using the edible mushrooms.

Using the stems will help you save money too since there is minimal wastage and you will have an extra dish on the table. The edible fungus can provide several essential nutrients that vary based on the compositions and nutritional profiles.

They can range from everyday fare to a costly delicacy, from puffballs to truffles to buy them fresh, canned, or dried. Mushrooms contain various antioxidants such as selenium and choline which benefit your health. They help prevent diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems. 

What is the Nutritional Value of Mushroom Stems?

Most mushroom types are edible although you should be careful when consuming wild mushrooms. Wild ones can contain a very high amount of toxins and heavy metals that can be fatal. Moreover, mushrooms provide nutrients of similar quantities per serving regardless of their shape or size. Since mushroom stems are a part of the mushroom, the nutritional value is equal.

The following are the nutrients in a 100-gram amount of raw brown mushrooms:

  • Water 92%
  • Carbohydrates 4.3 g
  • Protein 2.5 g
  • Fat 0.1 g
  • Calories 22
  • Thiamine (B1) 0.1 mg
  • Riboflavin (B2) 0.5 mg
  • Niacin (B3) 3.8 mg
  • Pantothenic acid (B5) 1.5 mg
  • Vitamin B6 0.11 mg
  • Folate (B9) 25 ug
  • Phosphorus 120 mg
  • Zinc 1.1 mg
  • Potassium 448 mg

They have minimal or no vitamin C or sodium content, and the mushroom’s vitamin D content depends on post-harvest handling.  

The mushroom stems are also high in fibre which makes them chewy but flavorful. This characteristic allows them to cook and flavor soups and broths since they cook for a long time compared to the mushroom cap. 

What are the Health Benefits of Mushroom Stems?

The primary nutrients in mushrooms contributing to your health benefits are protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Free radicals in the body are byproducts of bodily processes such as metabolism, which can cause oxidative stress if they accumulate at high levels. Antioxidants help to eliminate free radicals, thus eliminating various health risks. 

Such antioxidant agents in the mushroom include selenium, vitamin C and choline. 

Let’s delve into the various health benefits of mushroom stems:

Benefit #1: Help Prevent Cancer

The antioxidant content in your mushrooms can prevent lung, breast, prostate and other types of cancer. Additionally, a certain amount of Vitamin D in sunlight-exposed mushrooms, a supplement may be administered to a person and help prevent or treat some kinds of cancer. It, however, varies from person to person. 

Benefit #2: Help to Manage Diabetes

The dietary fibre in mushroom stems may help to manage various health conditions such as type 2 diabetes. A review of meta-analyses conducted in 2018 concluded that people who consume a lot of fibre might have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  Moreover, for those who already have it, the fibre may help reduce blood glucose levels.

Benefit #3: Improve Cardio Health

Mushrooms contain fibre, potassium, vitamin C and calcium, which contribute to cardiovascular health. Potassium can help regulate blood pressure, thus decreasing the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. 

Therefore, you should reduce the intake of added salt in the diet and eat more foods that contain potassium. Such foods include mushrooms.

How Can You Incorporate Mushroom in Your Diet?

After your grocery haul, you are probably excited to start cooking that delicious mushroom dish. Besides the fact that mushrooms grown in the U.S appear in the list of the cleanest foods, you should wash and clean them carefully. It helps to remove any soil and grit. 

Unfortunately, you might not know how to break that norm of your simple mushroom dish. You are in luck! Below are ways you can incorporate your mushrooms into different tasty dishes. You can use your mushrooms whole, sliced, or diced.

To incorporate more mushrooms into the diet:

  • Sauté any mushroom with onions for a quick, tasty side dish.
  • Add mushrooms to stir-fries.
  • Top your salad with raw, sliced Crimini or white mushrooms.
  • Stuff and bake your portobello mushrooms.
  • Add sliced mushrooms to omelettes, breakfast scrambles, pizzas, and quiches.
  • Sauté shiitake mushrooms in olive oil or broth for a healthful side dish.
  • Remove the stems of portobello mushrooms, marinate the caps in a mixture of olive oil, onion, garlic, and vinegar for 1 hour, and then grill them for 10 minutes.
  • Add grilled portobello mushrooms to your sandwiches.

If you plan to prepare dried mushrooms, leave them in water for several hours until they are soft.

Final Thoughts

  • Mushroom stems are edible although some can be too woody and have less to no taste when cooked. Those with edible stems include: portobello, crimini, chanterelle, porcini, and white button mushrooms.
  • As long as you have approved mushrooms, they are suitable for you. However, toxic mushrooms can cause severe health risks if consumed.
  • Edible mushrooms are quite nutritious since they contain proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins antioxidants which help improve your health.
  • Due to mushrooms’ nutritional value, they are beneficial to your health since they help prevent cancer, manage diabetes, and improve your cardio health.
  • You can incorporate your mushrooms in more than one dish to break the norm of eating the same dish over and over.

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