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This small delicacy grows in abundance in the forest.
Mushrooms suit every diet – they are low in calories, rich in nutrients and very varied in taste. However, be careful gathering your own mushrooms in the forest.
Mushrooms are the highlight of many dishes. They not only taste good but also provide a lot of nutritional content, especially vitamin D. Thanks to their high water content, mushrooms have hardly any calories but are not always easy to digest because of their chitin content. Spices such as caraway and fennel seeds can liven up the flavour of mushrooms with a hint of spice and also make them more digestible.
Edible mushrooms can be divided into two main categories: wild mushrooms and cultivated mushrooms. While cultivated mushrooms are available all year round, wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, porcini and morel mushrooms are only available at certain times of the year. Those who aim to go mushroom picking in the wild should proceed with caution – many edible mushrooms have poisonous doppelgangers so precise knowledge on mushrooms is required.
|Calories||26 kcal per 110g|
|Nutrients||3.7g carbohydrate, 1.7g fibre, 0.3g fat, 2.9g protein per 100g|
|Season||wild mushrooms between spring and autumn; cultivated mushrooms available year-round|
|Storage||vegetable drawer in the refrigerator – always away from sunlight and draughts|
|Shelf life||up to 3 days|
When purchasing mushrooms, it is important to look out for a healthy smell and a firm texture. For optimum storage, wrap them in a damp cloth and refrigerate. Clean mushrooms under running water as leaving them to soak will make them soggy. Another option is to use a small brush or a cloth and then cut off the woody parts.
The majority of mushroom varieties require cooking before eating as they are otherwise indigestible. The most common mushrooms, button mushrooms, belong to the small percentage of mushrooms that can be eaten raw. Wild mushrooms on the other hand, should always be cooked as they may contain eggs from fox tapeworms, which are killed upon cooking. It is recommended to salt mushrooms after cooking to prevent them from becoming tough.
Wild mushrooms have a very distinctive flavour. The nutty-tasting porcini are some of the most popular and can be found between July and October. Chanterelles have a mild spice to them and go particularly well with game – these can be found between June and September. Morel mushrooms are popular but are slightly difficult to prepare. When eaten raw they are poisonous but once cooked or perhaps dried for half a year, they are fine to be eaten. Their earthy, spicy flavour lends itself well to a wide variety of sauces.
Many cultivated mushrooms can also be found growing wild in the forest. Unlike wild mushrooms, cultivated mushrooms are available year round. Generally speaking, fresh mushrooms taste far more flavourful than those out of a tin or jar. The white and brown mushrooms are the most common varieties and are known for their characteristically mild taste, however, the brown mushrooms do have a slightly more intense taste and are less sensitive to pressure. King oyster mushrooms usually smell like fresh herbs and have a spicy, nutty flavour. Shiitake are particularly juicy and oyster mushrooms are known to aid digestion.
Truffles are another type of fungus that are considered a rare delicacy and are very hard to find – this is what makes this fungus very expensive. It is mostly grated over dishes as an injection of flavour or as a tasty topping. Whether the taste is worth the price and the effort is difficult to say, but it is without a doubt a delicious ingredient in certain recipes.
If you’re after an excellent mushroom dish that is a little less costly than one with truffles, oyster mushrooms coated in breadcrumbs and fried make for a tasty treat, served alongside some potatoes and brown sauce.
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