M is for mushroom. Mushroom are a uniquely shaped fungus (sssh!) that’s often incredibly fascinating for little ones. They also have a unique texture that varies from one mushroom to the next and changes from when they are raw or cooked. Mushrooms are often an acquired taste and range in flavour from relatively subtle (especially when raw), to rather strong and pungent when cooked. It’s sometimes easier to start little ones off on soft raw mushrooms, using their unique structure and shape as a form of engagement, before graduating to the slimier texture and stronger taste of cooked mushrooms.
It’s important to discuss the dangers of raw mushrooms that grow in the wild and how although they look similar – they are DEFINITELY not edible!
DID YOU KNOW?
- Ancient Egyptians thought that mushrooms grew by pure magic, because they grow so rapidly and would appear literally overnight.
- Mushrooms are a high source of protein and contain more than most other vegetables.
- Mushrooms are one of the few vegetables that retain their vitamin and nutrient goodness when cooked – perhaps because it’s rare to boil them in water (which is where most water soluble vitamins get lost).
- One medium brown mushroom contains more potassium than a banana.
- It’s best to store mushrooms unwashed in brown paper bags (or in a cloth bag or wrapped in a tea towel)
WHY ARE MUSHROOMS SO GOOD FOR YOU?
1- Mushrooms contain high levels of vitamin D – one of the few natural sources. Vitamin D is essential for strong and healthy bones and teeth.
2- They are high fibre, low salt and low in calories too, making them a nutritious and health snack, promoting proper bowel function and easing any constipation.
3- Packed with B vitamins including: Thiamin (great for the brain and nervous system); Ribofloxin (maintains healthy red blood cells and promotes eye health and healthy skin); Niacin (good for digestion and the nervous system)
4- Mushrooms are a rich source of folate with is essential for the formation of red and white blood cells in bone marrow, and healthy growth and development – particularly important for pregnant women.
5- They also contain high levels of zinc which is an essential mineral that helps to boost the immune system.
M is for mushroom. Below we have a fun mushroom craft idea on how to make “Mushroom Lions” as well as a delicious, simple and allergy friendly recipe for Stuffed Mushrooms – that can be both gluten-free and dairy-free. They’re fun ways to celebrate mushroom, to talk about their texture, their taste and why they’re so good for us and important in our diets!