Mushroom caps get all the attention. Whether grilled (see recipe below), sautéed or blended into soups, these low-calorie, no-fat fungi add pungent flavor to any meal.
But, wait—don’t discard the bases or stems just yet. Usually tossed into animal feed, these leftovers may have some value as prebiotics.
Researchers in Taiwan showed that polysaccharides from several different varieties of mushrooms could “enhance the survival rate of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidobacterium longum … during cold storage. The polysaccharides had synergistic effects with the peptides and amino acids from a yogurt culture to maintain probiotics above 10(7) CFU/mL during cold storage, and they also had significant protective effects on these probiotics in simulated gastric and bile juice conditions to achieve beneficial effects in the host.”
The research was reported here in in the Journal of Food Science.
Good news for mushroom processors. And consumers: mushrooms were already nutritional powerhouses—high in potassium and Vitamin D and virtually free of calories. Prebiotic potential adds to their virtues.
Meanwhile, large Crimini mushroom caps, called portobello in some parts of the world to add to their allure, are tender and tasty when marinated in garlic and oil then tossed on a medium hot grill. Let each side cook for about 5 minutes.
Add a slice of sharp cheese and let cook for another minute to melt. Serve with grilled onions on a toasted whole wheat bun.
The burgers won’t be missed, by your heart or taste buds.