Cooking Up Healthy Meals
Celebrate Heart Healthy Month with Mighty Mushrooms
Whether a skeptic or mushroom groupie, creating healthy meals are at your fingertips with mighty mushrooms. Mushrooms provide meals with:
- Flavor – Mushrooms provide umami, creating hearty recipes with deep flavors.
Umami – a flavor that makes dishes taste savory and rich due to the presence of specific amino acids and nucleotides.
- Versatility – Enjoy mushrooms fresh, marinated, roasted, sauteed, or blended with meat.
- Texture – Mushrooms have a meaty texture, which makes them a great vegetarian and vegan ingredient to satisfy tummies with flavorful, hearty meals.
- Nutrition Powerhouse – Mushrooms are packed with 12 key vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin D in certain varieties exposed to UV light.
Pro Tip: Use less salt and fat in recipes without sacrificing flavor because mushrooms naturally enhance the flavor and texture.
In addition to taking your culinary skills to the next level, mushroom benefits also reach your community by supporting:
- Sustainability Efforts – Mushrooms are good for the environment because they require less water, energy, land, and raw materials for their production.
- Local Economy – Mushrooms are grown in almost every state and year-round.
Pro Tip: Add mushrooms to your school menus as part of Farm to School efforts. For tips and tricks to procuring mushrooms check out our Sourcing Catalog.
- Healthy Budgets – Mushrooms can decrease the amount of meat you use in dishes where other protein sources are being used and can also help you increase plate coverage and portion sizes of your entrees without having to increase your protein costs.
Preparing Mighty Mushrooms
Let’s set the stage for culinary finesse. Storing ingredients properly seems like a small, unnoticeable act, but this is a meal game changer. Store mushrooms in paper or cloth bags, or in the container with the plastic wrap removed in the refrigerator (at 34-38oF).
Pro Tip: Don’t stack other items on top of the mushroom container as they bruise easily.
When cooking up healthy meals with mushrooms, proper cleaning is the first step. To clean mushrooms appropriately, follow these quick steps:
- Rinse quickly in cool water or wipe off with a damp paper towel
Pro Tip: Never soak – soaking will cause the mushrooms to get soggy and produce a poor quality product.
- Timing is also important – don’t wash mushrooms until they’re ready to use, because they will absorb water and the longer they sit after rinsing, the quicker they’ll deteriorate.
If using processed mushrooms, you may not need to wash at all!
Pro Tip: For school nutrition kitchens – use the sprayer head at your produce station and lightly rinse the mushrooms, shake off excess moisture and air dry before processing.
To keep mushrooms the star of the show, help your teams know how to follow these tips and tricks by printing out our Fresh Mushrooms Handling poster and display it in your kitchens.
Using Mighty Mushrooms in Your Kitchen
It can be intimidating at first to add fresh mushrooms – or really any fresh produce – to your school meal ingredients, especially if you’re unsure of how to prepare them quickly, safely, and deliciously.
Now that we have discovered how to properly store and prepare mushrooms for your healthy meals – here’s how to use mushrooms in your kitchens:
Malissa Marsden, Mushrooms in Schools expert consultant, discusses quick, easy ways to use mushrooms – fresh or processed – in a variety of recipes.
Pro Tip: Enhance your heart healthy menu by adding vegetarian options. Check out how to use mushrooms for your on trend recipes.
Looking to Further Your Culinary Skills?
Mushrooms in Schools has you covered with our Layers of Flavors Course – which is approved for 1 CEU by SNA! We love this training course because your team can complete the course in their time and in their own kitchens.
Follow Mushrooms in Schools on Facebook and Twitter to show your #MushroomLove. For more recipes and resources, check out our website. #KidsEatMushrooms2