Yay! Autumn is here and some of the best products of the fall season are the abundance of wild mushrooms available for both taste adventuring as well as improving your health. In this article we’ll cover some of the excellent health benefits found in our friendly fungi and end up with a delicious Wild Mushroom Soup recipe to help you explore an easy way to incorporate mushroom eating into your diet.
The Remarkable Health Benefits of Mushrooms
Mushrooms are chock full of compounds that are anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, anti-mutagenic (meaning they prohibit mutations in cells), promote longevity (did someone say fountain of youth?), improve coronary artery health and help lower risk of stroke.
The main compound that has been discovered to be so advantageous when we include mushrooms in our diet has also been found to be neuroprotective against stress induced injuries in an accumulative way. Meaning the more often we eat them, the more benefit we receive because this compound hangs out in our tissues, offering longer results.
A recent article by Dr. Joseph Mercola states:
“Eating two or more portions of mushrooms per week has been shown to reduce your risk of mild cognitive impairment by more than half, compared to one portion a week or less.
Another study found people who consumed mushrooms three times a week or more had a significantly lower risk of developing dementia, over a period of six years, compared to those who only ate mushrooms once a week or less.
A third study found seniors with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease who consumed one-third to a full teaspoon of powdered lion’s mane mushroom per day for several months saw mild but measurable improvement in their cognitive function and Activities of Daily Living scores, compared to placebo.”
Many of the varieties mentioned in these studies are found easily in your favorite grocery store. These include porcini, shiitake, maitake, chanterelles, lion’s mane, pine mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, king boletes, among others.
There are so many ways to include fungi in our diet these days. But the best mushroom recipes have even those who think they don’t like eating mushrooms taking full advantage of their health properties. I love some of the delicious powders that can be mixed into smoothies and warm beverages, or sprinkled on top of desserts.
Rehydrating dried mushrooms is an easy and economical way to keep mushrooms around for longer periods of time. There are so many varieties available in the dried category and all you have to do is let them soak for 5 to 10 minutes in warm/hot water before adding them to your soup or sauce. For sautes and stir fries I prefer fresh mushrooms but dried can also be used in a pinch.
Here is my favorite Creamy Wild Mushroom Soup recipe to share on a crisp autumn day. (This can also be made without the cream so have no fear!)
2 cups (or more) lightly chopped wild mushroom mix
4 cups broth (homemade is best – chicken or vegetable)
⅓ cup heavy cream (I like Alexandre’s Organic A2/A2 cream)
1 small onion, chopped
1 small bunch Italian parsley, washed and chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp fresh sage leaves, chopped
EVOO or grass-fed butter for sauteeing
Salt & pepper to taste
- Melt 2 T butter or EVOO in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute to translucent. Add chopped mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes more.
- Add in chopped herbs and salt and pepper and stir mixture together.
- Add broth and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Separate half of the soup mixture and place in blender or use an immersion blender to blitz for a thicker texture. Add back into soup pot. Taste for seasoning.
- Stir in cream if using. Serve in soup bowls with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley and a small float of EVOO.
This best mushroom recipe can also be used as a sauce for braising pork chops by simply reducing the broth by half. After searing your chops, place in a dutch oven and cover with wild mushroom sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with Wild Mushroom Pilaf or baked delicata squash for a delicious autumn meal.