Chestnut mushrooms are not something you would know off the bat because it resembles the white button mushroom. However, this mushroom is not the same and has different characteristics too. Keep on reading to find out what you need to know about chestnut mushrooms.
What are chestnut mushrooms?
A chestnut mushroom is a white mushroom that has grown to be browner. It is also bigger than a button mushroom and looks like cremini in terms of size.
The chestnut grows in large clusters, and many also call it the cinnamon cap sometimes. The cap is brown to golden in color with pink or dark brown gills and a beige stem.
Here are the 4 facts to know about chestnut mushrooms:
Fact #1. They grow in the wild and can be cultivated
The chestnut mushroom is native to grasslands, like those in Europe and North America. The mushroom can also be cultivated at home using mushroom sawdust blocks and maintaining the correct moisture and light. Within 10 days, your chestnut mushrooms will begin to fruit, with full-grown chestnut mushrooms fruiting within 45 days.
Fact #2. Chestnut mushrooms are highly nutritious
Like other fungi, these mushrooms are very nutritious. You can obtain B vitamins, copper, selenium, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and magnesium. Eating chestnut mushrooms is also a great way to obtain more fiber in your diet that many of us lack in our lives.
Unlike other vegetables, the chestnut is also a source of vitamin D. The great thing about this fungus is that when you cultivate it under UV light, it can triple its vitamin D content. Most people in the world are vitamin D deficient and do not know it. This vitamin also acts as a boost for our immune systems and helps keep bones and joints healthy.
Fact #3. These mushrooms have many health benefits
Chestnut mushrooms are also a great source of beta-glucans, a type of complex polysaccharide, which can have very positive health benefits for you. On one hand, they can help remove cholesterol from your body by binding to it. Since beta-glucans are not absorbed, they will be removed along with the excess cholesterol.
Beta-glucans also help lower blood sugar levels, which is great for those at risk for diabetes. Eating these mushrooms can help you level out the glucose that your body will release after a meal because the complex polysaccharides are absorbed much slower than normal carbohydrates and fiber.
Another reason to consume chestnut mushrooms is that they contain antioxidants. This fungus contains glutathione and ergothioneine, two compounds capable of reducing damage from toxins and free radicals by neutralizing these dangerous substances. These two antioxidants are also great at reducing the inflammation that could also lead to permanent damage and chronic illnesses. Antioxidants also provide a good way to protect your body against aging and degenerative damage, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Selenium and copper are two important micronutrients that we must obtain through diet. While they are usually found in meat sources, this fungus is a good source of both. Aside from being essential for certain cellular and metabolic processes, both of these minerals act as antioxidants as well.
Fact #4. They make delicious meals
Although not the most complex or delicate mushrooms, the chestnut mushroom is much tastier than the white mushroom, its younger counterpart. The flavor of this mushroom is nutty and earthy, which can add density to any meal.
This fungus, however, does not have a distinct odor, which can be a good thing when you want your mushrooms to blend in with other ingredients.
The texture of the chestnut mushroom is also much meatier than the white button. It is much denser and requires longer cooking to soften up. Still, it is a great addition to a stir-fry, sauce, casserole, stew, soup, salad, pasta, and more.
Another great fact to keep in mind when cooking with chestnut mushrooms is that their cap can crisp up nicely. Some people confuse this mushroom with a young portobello because of this. You can use it as a meat replacement when cooking sliders, sandwiches, and other types of meals. All you have to do is sauté them for a while in oil to allow for the cap to brown.
If you are not trying to cook, this mushroom is tasty when raw as well. After a quick cleanup, the chestnut will be ready for consumption without any harm.
Try a new mushroom today!
Who says you have to always cook the same mushrooms at home? While it might not be easy to find the chestnut everywhere, it is not impossible. You can certainly begin growing them at home too. This mushroom has a lot to offer, including delicious flavor, texture, and various health properties.
Do not let its simple-looking features fool you because the chestnut is worth the while and the time.