Eating the right foods for proper nutrition is hard, even when you’re trying. Three-quarters of Americans claim to eat healthy, but about 80 percent don’t eat enough vegetables, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While mushrooms are scientifically classified as a fungus, for the purposes of dietary guidelines, they are most often considered vegetables. Packing your menus full of flavorful dishes featuring mushrooms can create a path to a healthier overall diet. According to Juli Johnson, an APRN at INTEGRIS, “mushrooms are great for inflammation and especially your immune system.” And if you use mushrooms grown on Oklahoma farms in your recipes you’ll know both flavor and nutrition are at peak freshness.
Wait, Oklahoma has a mushroom farm?
You might not know it, but the mushrooms you often find in your local grocery store with J-M on the label are grown in Oklahoma.
The farm, located in Miami, Okla., was established by Virgil and Joe Jurgensmeyer and Darrell McLain in 1979. The first crop of mushrooms sold to the Associated Wholesale Grocers of Springfield, MO.
Originally, the farm was built to produce two million pounds of mushrooms each year. Now, more than 28 million pounds of white, cremini and portabella mushrooms are harvested each year. Not only does J-M continue to sell mushrooms in Missouri and Oklahoma, but their fleet of trucks delivers to 12 states total.
“At J-M, we consider it a privilege to help feed the world. Being a family-owned farm, we understand the importance of family,” says Roy Zimmerman, J-M general manager. “What do all people want for their family? To have long healthy happy lives together. That starts by eating the right foods and taking care of your body and mind. Mushrooms can be an excellent addition to your family’s daily diet to work towards that healthy lifestyle.”
Did you know five white mushrooms, also known as button mushrooms, amount to just 20 calories? They also have zero grams of fat and only three grams of carbohydrates. With so few calories and fat, you might think mushrooms wouldn’t add much to your diet.
However, mushrooms are a good source of Vitamin B, which is vital for turning food into fuel and helps the body produce energy. They are also one of the leading sources of the antioxidant selenium in the produce aisle. Selenium helps protect the cells in the body from damage that leads to disease.
“Mushrooms are the only fruit or vegetable that has the ability to produce Vitamin D,” says Brian Forrester, project manager at J-M. “We all need a healthy dose of Vitamin D. So if you aren’t out getting some sun, at least eat your mushrooms to help out.”
The newest trend in the mushroom industry is the push to use mushrooms to make a healthier burger. They are calling them “blended burgers.”
“Blended burgers usually consist of 25 percent ground mushroom and 75 percent lean beef,” Forrester says. “It was recently announced that Sonic Drive-In is the first fast food chain to offer it on its menu. It’s a two-month trial. And Sodexo, a food supply company, handles a lot of food services for schools and started selling the blended burgers last year.”
Let’s eat some mushrooms!
There’s always room in the recipe box for a new tailgating recipe. Here is a recipe from Chef Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, on the Mushroom Council Website for her mushroom lovers’ chili.
Mushroom Lovers’ Chili
1 pound cremini mushrooms
1 tablespoon unrefined peanut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely dicedMushr
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small jalapeño pepper, with some seeds, minced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons aged red wine vinegar
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed roasted tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
1½ tablespoons chili powder
1¼ teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
In two batches, add the mushrooms to a food processor. Cover and pulse until finely chopped, but not mushy. Alternatively, finely chop mushrooms using a chef’s knife.
Heat the oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, bell pepper and jalapeño and sauté until the mushrooms are cooked through and onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and vinegar and sauté for 1 minute.
Add the broth, tomatoes, chili powder, salt and cinnamon and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes. Stir in the beans and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency, about 12 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
Spoon chili into bowls, top with the remaining cilantro, and serve.
150 calories, 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans-fat, 0mg cholesterol, 690mg sodium, 26g total carbohydrate, 7g dietary fiber, 7g sugars, 9g protein