For thousands of years, the therapeutic value of Shiitake mushrooms has been prized in Asian cultures as a symbol of longevity. An excellent source of copper, selenium, and pantothenic acid, this fungi has been observed to carry many unique health-promoting compounds that may responsible for many of claimed health benefits. These compounds include eritadenine, a cholesterol-lowering compound, and lentinan, an immune-stimulating phytonutrient.
Nutrients and Health Benefits
Selecting Shiitake Mushrooms
Select the freshest Shiitake mushrooms by looking for the ones that are firm, plump, clean, and dry. Look for caps with a darker color because they have a richer flavor, yet this is also an indication that they have already been stored for a longer period of time and should be used as soon as possible. By selecting the freshest Shiitake mushrooms, you will also enjoy mushrooms with the best taste and a better chance of high nutritional value. Avoid Shiitake mushrooms that are wrinkled or have wet slimy spots.
Storing Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms are very perishable and do not store well. For the most flavor and nutrients, enjoy your Shiitake mushrooms soon after purchasing them. The longer you keep them the more nutrients you lose. Prevent them from becoming soft, limp, or wet. It is not recommended to store Shiitake mushrooms longer than 5 days. A colder temperature will help minimize the rate of respiration and thereby help keep Shiitake mushrooms fresh for a longer period of time. Do not wash Shiitake mushrooms before refrigeration.
Preparing Shiitake Mushrooms
The best way to clean Shiitake mushrooms is to wipe but not wash them. Mushrooms are very porous and will quickly absorb water and become soggy if washed. The best was to clean Shiitake mushrooms, without sacrificing their texture and taste, is to clean them without water. Either use a mushroom brush or simply wipe them with a damp towel. To cut Shiitake mushrooms, lay them upside down and cut off the stem, and then slice.
Cooking Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms are delicate. It is advised to cook them just long enough to soften their fibers for better digestion and overall greater enjoyment. Researchers have well established that improper cooking, too much heat and long cooking times, can easily damage many nutrients present in Shiitake mushrooms. For optimal results, the most nutritious way to cook Shiitake mushrooms is to sauté them for only 7 minutes.
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Mercola.com. (2017). What Are Shiitake Mushrooms Good For? - Mercola.com. [online] Available at: http://foodfacts.mercola.com/shiitake-mushrooms.html [Accessed 9 Oct. 2017].
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