Mushrooms are nutritious, but they can be an acquired taste. Your kids might even think mushrooms are strange because they look weird and have a slimy texture. If you want to get picky eaters to try mushrooms, make delicious mushroom broth to reap all of the health benefits offered by these unique superfoods.
The health benefits of mushroom broth
Mushroom broth is a nutrient-rich and comforting dish that has various medicinal properties. Depending on the fungi that you use, mushroom broth can boost gut health and can strengthen your immune system.
Mushroom broth has a nutty umami (savory) flavor and it can be served as a delicious hot or cold drink. The broth can also be used as stock when cooking grains or making soup.
In Asian countries, mushrooms are used in traditional medicine to address different health conditions. Several studies also tried to understand the immunological and anticancer properties of some types of mushrooms.
Some holistic nutritionists suggest that mushrooms have other potential health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol and protecting the liver. Certain mushrooms also have antidiabetic, antihypertensive, and antiviral properties.
Mushrooms are fat- and cholesterol-free. They are also a good meat alternative because they’re low-calorie and low-sodium.
Nutritious mushrooms contain antioxidants that protect your body from harmful free radicals. The latter is linked to health problems like cancer and heart disease. Aside from preventing damage due to aging, antioxidants also boost your immune system.
Some mushrooms, such as chaga, reishi, and shiitake, have highly concentrated medicinal properties.
- Chaga mushrooms are rich in antioxidants.
- Reishi mushrooms improve your immunity.
- Shiitake mushrooms possess antiviral properties.
Don’t worry if you can’t find fresh mushrooms. Edible fungi can be purchased in dried forms, either whole or powdered, in health food stores. Try cooking with different types of mushrooms to enjoy their various medicinal properties. (Related: Shiitake mushrooms are a powerful medicinal superfood.)
Other types of mushrooms sold in grocery stores, such as button, cremini, portobello, and oyster mushrooms, aren’t considered medicinal. However, these edible fungi still offer many health benefits and they are rich in vitamins and minerals.
Tips for buying and storing mushrooms
Here are some things to keep in mind when buying mushrooms.
- Choose mushrooms that are firm.
- Don’t buy mushrooms that are moist to the touch and moldy.
- Mushrooms can be stored in a paper bag inside your fridge for at least five days.
- Gently brush the dirt off mushrooms then rinse them lightly before you prepare them.
Recipe for mushroom broth
When making mushroom broth, feel free to add or substitute ingredients to make your own flavorful stock. Save mushroom stems from portobello and cremini mushrooms to use for the broth. If you don’t have the budget for fresh shiitake mushrooms, you can substitute with dried mushrooms.
This recipe for mushroom broth makes eight cups.
- 8 cups water
- 4 large slices of reishi mushroom
- 8 to 10 shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2 cup dried chaga mushrooms
- 1 small onion
- 1 cup carrots (roughly chopped)
- 1 cup celery with tops (roughly chopped)
- 2 tablespoons (tbsp) apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp sea salt (add more to taste)
- 2 tbsp red or white miso paste
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger (roughly chopped)
- Place all of the ingredients in a slow cooker and set on low.
- Let the mixture cook for three hours. Stir the broth once every hour.
- Use a sieve to strain the mixture and set the broth. Let it cool before refrigerating it.
- Discard everything except for the shiitake mushrooms. Use the mushrooms for other savory dishes.
Use mushrooms as a savory meat alternative or prepare mushroom soup to make a nutritious and delicious broth for soups and stews.