5 Reasons to Celebrate National Mushroom Month

Add mushrooms to your favorite recipes to celebrate National Mushroom Month this September …September is National Mushroom Month! I know that might sound silly, but if you love mushrooms as much as I do, it will probably bring to mind all your favorite ways to enjoy them. A few of mine: Slow-braised and topped with a poached egg, sliced and sautéed for pizza, in a red-wine sauce over a seared steak and roasted with lots of olive and garlic until they're crispy around the edges.

Mouth-watering dishes aside, here are some more reasons I'm a fungi fanatic:

1. They're low in calories and sodium, so they add flavor and heft to meals without adding too much of the things you don't want.

Related: Warm Mushroom Salad with Endive and Watercress

2. They contain no fat or cholesterol. (When you sauté them in butter, though, that's a different story.)

3. Many varieties are in season year-round, so I can have them on my Fourth of July burger or my mid - winter stew.

4. They contain vitamin D (the only thing in the produce aisle that does!) and potassium, and are also an important source of antioxidant minerals.

5. What's extra-special about mushrooms - and tomatoes and aged cheeses like Parmesan - is something called "umami," which is the fifth taste (after sweet, sour, salty, and bitter). This meaty savoriness means that a portobello burger can be as satisfying as one made with beef. Try making a PLT sandwich, and if you weren't a mushroom nut already, you will be. Still not convinced? Make this roasted mushroom recipe mentioned by my colleague Sherry in her ode to mushrooms last October.

Related: Farm-Stand Mushroom and Cheese Tart

If you're intrigued and looking for ways to go beyond the typical white mushrooms, check out what the Mushroom Council has to say about this tasty food. In addition to listing popular cultivated varieties, you can find out more about their nutritional benefits.

And finally, in honor of mushroom month, I'm attempting to grow some oyster mushrooms at home. Since my green thumb has not yet kicked in-no sign of even the tiniest of caps-check back in a couple weeks for an update!

What are your favorite ways to cook with mushrooms? Let me know in the comments!

-by Catherine Lo

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