Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall Into Fungi…September is Mushroom Month

A longtime favorite topping on pizza, mushrooms also rank on top in Pennsylvania, where 548 million pounds were produced in the 2011-2012 growing season. The Keystone state is the leading producer in the country, supplying 62% of US production.
Of the many different varieties of edible mushrooms, the most popular varieties for consumers are the white or button mushroom, and criminis and portabellas, known as brown mushrooms.

Mushrooms also play a leading role in the kitchen and on menus, where this versatile vegetable is sliced, diced, sautéed, stir-fried, marinated, grilled, stuffed, breaded, baked and more.
While the value of last year’s mushroom crop totaled $487 million, this does not mean you have to spend a fortune in the produce aisle of your supermarket. Watch for mushrooms when they go on sale.

Mushrooms are low in calories and sodium, and offer important nutrients such as selenium and vitamin D. The fantastic fungi also provide B vitamins, such as riboflavin, and niacin. A serving of 4 to 5 white mushrooms contains almost 300 mg of potassium.

Mushrooms are described as having “umami,” or the fifth taste (after sweet, sour, salty and bitter), a substantial meaty flavor and texture, making them ideal to use in main dish recipes where they may replace a portion of ground meat. This substitution is a savory way to add a serving of vegetables to your meal in addition to helping lower the overall cost of ingredients and stretching the number of portions.

Anytime Pizza                                Yield:  2 servings
1/2 loaf wholegrain Italian bread, cut in half lengthwise (or 2 wholegrain English muffins, split)
1/2 cup prepared pizza sauce
1/2 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella or Cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons chopped green or red bell pepper (optional)
3 tablespoons sliced mushrooms, fresh or canned
Other optional vegetable toppings: cooked broccoli flowerets, chopped spinach
Dash of dried oregano or Italian seasoning

1. Toast the bread or English muffin until slightly brown.
2. Top bread or muffin with pizza sauce, vegetables and low-fat cheese.
3. Sprinkle with Italian seasonings as desired.
4. Return bread to toaster oven (or regular oven preheated to 350 degrees).
5. Heat until cheese melts.

Cost: Per recipe: $2.38; Per serving: $1.19
Source: University of Massachusetts, Extension Nutrition Education Program

Sloppy Garden Joes                                    Yield: 12 servings
Serving size
1 open-faced sandwich

1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
1 pound ground turkey or chicken
1 can (8-ounces) tomato sauce, low or no sodium
1 can (15-ounces) whole tomatoes, crushed
1 (8-ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1/4 cup prepared barbecue sauce
6 whole wheat hamburger buns or rolls, split in half to make 12

1. In large saucepan over medium heat, cook onions, carrots, green pepper and ground turkey or chicken for 5 minutes.
2. Add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, mushrooms, barbecue sauce, and seasonings and bring to boil.
3. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Uncover and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until thick.
5. Serve open-faced on toasted or plain whole-wheat buns.
6. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

Cost: Per recipe: $8.15; Per serving: $0.68
Source: Oregon State University Cooperative Extension Service, Healthy Recipes

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