Mushrooms are a great addition to any meal, You can bung in them your salad, pair them up with a bowl of creamy pasta or simply saute them in olive oil and dry herbs to enjoy the meaty flavour. But are these correct and only ways to cook and consume mushrooms? Probably Not! According to a new study, published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, mushrooms should be grilled as boiling or frying them can destroy their nutritional value.
Mushrooms are one of the few natural sources of Vitamin D. They contain no fat and are a valuable source of fiber. They are also packed with selenium which you don’t find in most fruits and vegetables. They are also rich in B Vitamins and biological active compounds called beta-glucans that are known to impart medicinal properties.
When it comes to cooking, mushrooms are very versatile. They can be cooked in several ways and their meaty-texture can be easily incorporated in any dish. But as per this new study, the best way to cook mushrooms to preserve all its nutrients is to grill them. During their study, scientists noted that there was a significant decline in the antioxidant activity after boiling and frying mushrooms and grilling or microwaving them enhanced their antioxidant activity.
Researcher Irene Roncero from Mushroom Technological Research Center of La Rioja (CTICH) in Spain explains, “Frying and boiling treatments produced more severe losses in proteins and antioxidants compounds, probably due to the leaching of soluble substances in the water or in the oil which may influence the nutritional value of the mushrooms. Conversely, when the mushrooms were grilled or microwaved, the content of polyphenol and antioxidant activity increased significantly.”
The authors of the study further noted that adding a little bit of oil should not be a problem but one needs to be cautious. In fact, they suggest that using olive oil while grilling may enhance the fatty acid profile of the dish without really increasing the calorie content.
Tips to grill mushrooms
The important thing to keep in mind while buying mushrooms is to pick the ones with firm caps. Make sure that the mushrooms are plump with the stems attached and avoid the ones that are slimy. The quality of the ingredient has a huge impact on its flavour when cooked. Generally speaking, Portobello mushrooms are best for grilling but you can use any. You can make a quick sauce with olive oil, some garlic and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Drizzle it all over and grill the mushrooms on medium-high heat for four to five minutes tossing them at least once to prevent them from charring. Alternatively, you can marinate the mushrooms in some balsamic vinegar for an hour and them grill them. These can be later added to salads, served with hot toast, or thrown into a bowl of pasta to add a smoky flavour.