Happy New Year from Mushrooms in Schools! If you’re still looking for a resolution, look no further – adding more fresh mushrooms to menus is affordable and offers a nutritional boost to any meal.
Why Fresh Mushrooms?
Whether home, daycare, school or beyond, mushrooms are an excellent option any time of day! Not only are they delicious – mushrooms are versatile and also have environmental benefits.
When placing mushrooms on the menu (Looking for recipes? Click here!), starting with where the food comes from is important. Here’s a quick guide to get started:
- Grocery store or farmer’s market: purchase local mushrooms and the variety you prefer
- Vendor: speak to vendors to help identify which mushrooms are readily available
There are many types of mushrooms to choose from! The most commonly used mushrooms in recipes are:
- White Button – great for fresh recipes like salad bars and marinated salads
- Portobello – has a deep, meat-like texture great for grilled and roasted dishes
- Shiitake – perfect for stir-fries, pasta, soups, entrees, and sides
If you are ordering mushrooms from a vendor (or local farmer) for a child nutrition program, you must provide an estimated amount needed on a regular schedule, like weekly or monthly.
The USDA has an easy-to-use tool, the Food Buying Guide, to help you estimate the amount of mushrooms to purchase based on the number of servings and serving size.
- Store mushrooms for up to 1 week, refrigerating as soon as you receive them between 34 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pro tip: Do not store them around food with a strong odor such as garlic and onions, since mushrooms are very porous and will pick up other flavors.
- Mushrooms should be rinsed (not soaked) quickly in cool water
- Don’t wash mushrooms until you’re ready to use
Looking for more tips to source local mushrooms in your kitchens? Check out our Sourcing Guide.
Mushrooms 🤝 Children
Did you know that mushrooms are grown in nearly every state and maybe even in a neighborhood nearby? Because mushrooms are so local, try taking a family or classroom visit to a local farm with mushrooms to get a hands-on experience with some funguys (see what we did there 🤣)!
We also recommend adding mushrooms to your Farm to School program (Farm to School Month is October). Mushrooms are grown indoors, so they’re available year-round – an added bonus for consistent menu planning, as cold as it is right now across the country mushrooms are still available fresh.
If you are not able to take a field trip or integrate mushrooms into a Farm to School program, check out our easy-to-use resources to engage children with fun mushroom facts, how growers produce mushrooms, and more!
Mushrooms are the perfect companion to classroom learning. From mushroom nutrition to growing and processing, these resources promote nutrition and sustainability education with your students from pre-K through 5th grade.
The mighty mushroom is ideal for hands-on demonstrations, classroom growing experiments, and tasty scratch-made meals that support your Farm to School Program! Our Farm to School toolkit provides ready-to-go materials for the classroom and cafeteria to promote local mushrooms and their environmental benefits.
Before they make their way to your plate, mushrooms go through a growing process in a highly controlled environment unlike that of any other produce item. Go through each step with us!
Watch the fascinating fungi-growing process over just six days!
Mushrooms Goodness: Curious about the variety of mushrooms? Click here.
#KidsEatMushrooms2 and Beyond!
How have you added mushrooms to your menus? We would love to see the final results! Even if you are taste-testing new mushroom-packed recipes! Tag us on your Facebook and/or X (Twitter) post and you can win a Mushrooms in Schools T-shirt.
Every time you share your recipes, we will feature you in our “Mushrooms on the Menu” newsletter (want to subscribe? Click here). We want to celebrate all the hard work you and your team do.