The gourmet and specialty mushroom has made its way to the forefront of popular culture in recent years. Not only are they delicious to eat but have many health benefits as well. Many varieties of mushrooms are fresh in Maine all year long. New to growing or selecting the perfect variety for your needs? Let our members help.
“Mushrooms have different flavor profiles and each variety is suited to different recipes” according to Lisa Jonassen, co-owner of Island Mushroom Company in Westport Island, Maine. Her advice: cook your mushrooms to bring out their best flavors and improve digestibility. If you are looking to expand your mushroom palate seek out Lions Mane at your local farmer’s market. This variety has a unique sweet flavor and fluffy consistency but she warns “don’t fry them,” as they act like a sponge and will soak up oil or butter in a pan. Instead, Jonassen suggests steaming them in a dry pan or roasting them in the oven with your favorite seasoning.
There are other ways to enjoy locally grown mushrooms. Of course you can add them fresh to your salads; when they are fresh picked, the flavor is amazing! But consider picking up some dried mushrooms too. These can be stored in your pantry, ready to hydrate with water, stock, or wine, adding flavor and panache to any last-minute meal! Also consider mushroom powder, which keeps extremely well if stored in a dark cupboard. Just a spoonful or two will add unforgettable flavor to your soups and sauces. Easily add mushroom powder to classic recipes ranging from mashed potatoes or scrambled eggs to dips and spreads!
Growing your own mushrooms even during seasons with shorter daylight hours can be a fun and easy way to experiment with new ingredients, and hone your green thumb. If you’re new to gardening or growing mushrooms specifically, a starter kit might be just what you are looking for. As the weather warms, and you begin planning your outdoor garden, the folks at North Spore put together a video with some great advice on how to make mushrooms the centerpiece of your vegetable growing.