Nutritional Facts and Uses of Edible Mushrooms

Mushrooms are fungi, though they have been clubbed with vegetables. They have been used as food since the times of the caveman when they were collected from the wild. Today, there are thousands of varieties of them, in various colors and flavors, both common and exotic varieties.

The exotic edible varieties include chanterelle, enoki, and shiitake. These are the most sought-after and consequently the most expensive.

Mushrooms grow in the wild even today, but be very careful while selecting them to eat, as many of these are poisonous.

About Mushrooms

Latin Name : Agaricus bisporus

The most commonly cultivated is the white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus. However, mushroom broadly refers to a number of fungi which bear a fruiting body containing spores and which grows above the ground.

They may grow on the soil or on another food source. They usually have a stem, a cap, and gills on the underside of the cap. However mushrooms may also grow without the stem and in such cases may be called differently. China is the largest producer of edible mushrooms accounting for over 50% of the world's edible mushroom production.

Varieties of Edible Mushrooms


Nutrients in Mushrooms

Generally, all mushrooms are :

  • Low in sodium, fat and calories, just about 20 calories in a cup.
  • High in fiber and protein; 20-30% protein by dry weight.
  • Rich in the minerals potassium, selenium, copper, zinc and magnesium; oyster mushroom is rich in iron too.
  • Rich in the Bcomplex vitamins, riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid.
  • The only vegetable or fruit for that matter that produces vitamin D when in sunlight and is a source of natural Vitamin D.
  • Rich in L-ergothoneine, a powerful antioxidant.
  • Rich in cancer fighting nutrients like polysaccharides and linoleic acid.
  • Free of cholesterol.
  • Contain triterpines which inhibit histamine release and are anti inflammatory.

Nutrients in Mushrooms

Mushrooms, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt
Serving size - 100 grams
28.0 (117 kJ)
Total Carbohydrate
5.3 gm
Dietary Fiber
2.2 gm
Total Omega-3 fatty acids
Total Omega-6 fatty acids
1.9 gms
Vitamin A
0 IU
Vitamin C
4 mg
Vitamin D
21 IU
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)
0 IU
Vitamin K
0 mcg
0.1 mg
0.3 mg
4.5 mg
Vitamin B6
0.1 mg
18 mcg
Vitamin B12
0 mcg
Pantothenic Acid
2.2 mg
19.9 mg
% DV
6 mg
1.7 mg
12 mg
87 mg
356 mg
2 mg
0.9 mg
0.5 mg
0.1 mg
11.9 mcg

Mushroom Categories

There are more than 10,000 known types of mushrooms. They can broadly be classified into four categories:

  • Saprophytic These feed on decaying matter like wood, plants and even animals. This category includes many gourmet and medicinal varieties of mushrooms like oyster, shiitake, cremini etc.
  • Myocorrhizal This category of mushrooms enter a symbiotic relationship with the host plant which gets phosphorus and other nutrients from the mushroom plant while the fungus gets sugar from the host. Most of the fungi of this category occur naturally in nature like chanterelles, truffles etc.
  • Parasitic This category of mushrooms also need a host but the relation is one sided with the fungus infecting the host and drawing all nutrients from it and eventually killing it. Eg Caterpillar fungus, Honey fungus etc.
  • Endophytic This category of mushrooms invade the host tissues but the host remains healthy and even benefits by increased nutrient absorption and resistance to disease. This category can be cultivated in the laboratory even without the host.

Common Edible Mushrooms

  • White or Button (Agaricus bisporus) A creamy white to pale tan color, these mushrooms have a firm texture and delicate flavor. They are juicy, tasty and inexpensive. They can be grilled or mixed with other mushrooms, can also be stuffed and baked.
  • Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibaris, C. formosus, etc) A medium textured mushroom with fruity aroma. It roasts or saute's well. It can also be stuffed in pecans and apricots. The color ranges from pale white to yellow to orange and brown to black. It has wrinkles on the underside instead of gills.
  • Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) It has a velvet like texture and is trumpet shaped with colors ranging from grey to pale brown to reddish caps on grey white stems. It has a mild seafood taste. It can be sauteed quickly or used in stews too as it can hold texture even in prolonged cooking. It tastes better with butter rather than olive oil but be careful to use just a little bit.
  • Portobello (Agaricus bisporus) It has a big, large, umbrella like cap. The texture and taste is steak like yet is buttery soft. It can replace meat and is often used as a veg burger substitute. The stem is woody and needs to be removed before eating. It can be stuffed with herbs, salt and pepper and can be roasted or grilled.
  • Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) The color of its cap ranges from tan to dark brown. It has an earthy, smoky flavor and tastes best when cooked. It is low in water content and is available both fresh or dried. It can be stir fried without loss of flavor. The stem is tough and needs to be removed before cooking. It can be used to flavor stocks and sauces. It can accompany anything from seafood to vegetables to red meat. It can be roasted and added to any other foods.
  • Cremini (Agaricus bisporus) This is actually the immature portobello, resembling the white mushroom but with a firmer texture and deeper flavor. The cap can be from a pale tan to rich brown color. The stem can be eaten as it has not yet become woody.
  • Enokitake (Flammulina velutipes) A mild flavored, crunchy textured mushroom with a fruity taste. It can be used raw with lemon and sea salt. It can also be added straight to soups or stir fries to add crunch.
  • Porcini (Boletus edulis) It has a rich woody flavor, the cap can be roasted like the portobello or it can be diced and cooked. It can be also added raw to salad. It can also accompany any type of food.
  • Morel (Morchella angusticeps, M. esculenta, etc) It is considered a delicacy. It has a deep and clean flavor. It can be toxic if eaten raw and should therefore be cooked. It can be cooked with non fat cream sauces and tastes best with just a little amount of butter rather than olive oil.
  • Black Truffles (Tuber melanosporum, T magnatum, etc) It has a sweet, musky and pungent flavor. It can be shaved and added to sauces or eggs; use a little as the flavor is strong. And it IS expensive. Added under the skin of chicken before roasting will impart a different taste and flavor to the chicken.

Some Common Types Of Edible Mushrooms

Click thumbnail to view full-size
white button mushroomsChanterelle mushroomsOyster mushroomsPortobello mushroomsShiitake mushroomCremimi mushroomsEnokitake mushroomsPorcini mushroomMorel mushroomBlack truffles mushrooms
white button mushrooms
white button mushrooms | Source
Chanterelle mushrooms
Chanterelle mushrooms | Source
Oyster mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms | Source
Portobello mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms | Source
Shiitake mushroom
Shiitake mushroom | Source
Cremimi mushrooms
Cremimi mushrooms | Source
Enokitake mushrooms
Enokitake mushrooms | Source
Porcini mushroom
Porcini mushroom | Source
Morel mushroom
Morel mushroom | Source
Black truffles mushrooms
Black truffles mushrooms | Source

How to Get the Maximum Benefits

  • Eat organically grown or grow your own to be sure they do not have poisons or toxins. that they could have absorbed from the environment.
  • Since they are 70-90% water they can fill one up. Ensure that you eat a larger quantity to derive their full health benefits.
  • Try to eat a variety of mushrooms to get various nutrients as different species have differing levels of nutrients.
  • Be sure to cook them as this makes the nutrients more readily available by breaking the chitinous cell walls. Cooking also neutralizes small levels of toxins. Don't eat them raw.
  • Always try out a small quantity if it is the first time you are consuming it to make sure it agrees with you.

Some Mushroom Facts

  1. Mushrooms grow from spores and not seeds.
  2. A mature mushroom can disperse as many as 16 billion spores.
  3. Some mushrooms can make one high due to their psilocybin content. Psilocybin is related to LSD. These mushrooms are called "shrooms" and possession of either fresh or dried form of this mushroom is illegal in the U.S.
  4. Much of the flavor of the mushroom lies in the skin. Do not peel it off.

Choosing the Best

  • Choose only plump and smooth looking mushrooms.
  • The surface of the mushrooms should be dry but not dried out.
  • Fresh and younger mushrooms have tighter gills and a milder flavor.
  • For a deeper flavor, choose mushrooms with open gills.
  • Always choose mushrooms grown organically or have been grown in a non toxic environment. The danger of consuming mushrooms grown in a poor environment is that pesticides or mercury are easily absorbed by them from the environment. Therefore never eat mushrooms from such areas.

Storing Them

  • Mushrooms stay fresh for up to a week if they are refrigerated.
  • Whole mushrooms last longer than sliced ones.
  • Remove the plastic covering and wrap in paper bag before storing in the fridge.
  • Do not freeze.

Preparation Tips

  • Brush off the dust or clean with a damp paper towel.
  • If they are very dirty, rinse them quickly in cold water and pat dry. Do not soak them in water as they absorb water.
  • Trim away the bottom of the stems or chip off the tough stem and then slice them.
  • Cook slowly for better taste and flavor.

Some Uses Of Mushrooms

Mushrooms can be used for dyeing natural fibers like wool etc. In ancient times mushrooms were the source of textile dyes.

Some fungi called tinder fungi are used as fire starters.

Mushrooms have been used medicinally sine olden times in traditional medicine. Reishi mushroom is highly prized in Chinese medicine.

Some Precautions

  • Some mushrooms are poisonous and can make one sick or even cause death. It is always better to make sure that they are not poisonous before they are cooked. This is especially true for wild mushrooms.
  • Mushroom allergies have been reported. Be aware of this fact. Also, before eating a new variety for the first time have a small quantity to make sure it agrees with you.
  • Avoid alcohol with mushroom consumption as some varieties react badly with alcohol if they are consumed in excess.
  • If you have gout, avoid eating mushrooms.




The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

Easy Mushroom Gravy Sauce Recipe

Chicken and Mushroom Casserole RECIPE

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly

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Comments 33 comments

Aupriann Myers profile image

Aupriann Myers 3 years ago from WASHINGTON

This a lot of information that I find very useful. I do a lot of cooking with mushrooms. They are fathers favorite. Five stars and voting up!

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks Aupriann. I'm glad you found it useful. Thanks for the vote and rating the hub.

Ruchi Urvashi profile image

Ruchi Urvashi 3 years ago from Singapore

Mushrooms is one of my favorite too. It is good to read all the health benefits of mushroom.

LA Elsen profile image

LA Elsen 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

Vote up and sharing. I love mushrooms. My father grew shiitake and another variety. It took him a few years, but he enjoyed the process. They are extremely healthy. Many people do not know of their health benefits, but now they do. Nice hub

Harsha Vardhana R profile image

Harsha Vardhana R 3 years ago from Bangalore

A lot of new information for me! Thank you, Rajan!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand


This is another awesome hub well-researched, written, and with excellent photos. I have always liked eating mushrooms but didn't know much about them before reading this article. I still don't know how you can tell whether wild mushrooms are good to eat. Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning and Tweeting.

DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Most useful and rate five stars mushrooms are so easy to prepare and has great benefits.

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

Mushrooms are a staple in our house. Just the old plain ones. I cook them about three times a week. We love them..Nice to know all the health benefits. Thanks for a great and informative hub. Voting++++Pinning.

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

Wonderful once again rajan and here's to many many more to come.

Have a wonderful day.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

I do like mushrooms. Many people here go out and pick them in the wild. I would never do that for fear of getting a poisonous one. I'll keep buying mine in the store and play it safe. :)

hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Hi, Rajan!

I'm trying to convince my vegetarian wife of the nutritious and healthy benefits of mushrooms. This excellent hub of yours is just what I need to cement my presentation to her. I love mushrooms and was fed an abundant amount in my former Hawaiian/Asian diet. Thanks for the great recipe cells as well!

livingsta profile image

livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

Very informative hub Rajan. I looked at the photos of those edible mushrooms and thought, there are so many mushrooms that are edible. I haven't seen even half of them. Some look like they are non-edible, when in real, they are.

Thank you for sharing this interesting hub with us !

Votes up, rated and shared!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

Thanks especially for listing the nutrients. The dishes look soooo delicious. I like fresh mushrooms. I could only find frozen ones here. Voted Up!

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia

I love mushrooms. My brother, I learn many things about mushrooms from this hub. Excellent information and very well written. Thanks for sharing with us. Voted up!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 3 years ago from Orange County, CA

As much as I enjoy mushrooms and despite all their health benefits, I'd never pick wild ones on my own. I just don't know enough about them, so won't know if I'm getting something poisonous. Voting this Up and Useful.

Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and interesting and useful. Thanks for this great hub on mushrooms. I've have a long ongoing love affair with mushrooms of any kind. Great recipes. Passing this on.

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ Ruchi - thanks.

@ LA Elsen - good to know you're aware of how healthy they are. Thanks for stopping by.

@ Harsha - thank you.

@ Paul - thanks for the compliments. As for the wild mushrooms, I'd suggest one leaves that for the experts to determine. I really appreciate all the sharing and comments. Thanks.

@ Devika - thanks for the votes and read.

@ Carol - appreciate the comments , votes and the pinning.

@ Eddy - thank you.

@ Bill - you are doing the right thing by leaving that for the experts. Thanks.

@ Joe - I hope you are successful now in selling this idea to your wife, my friend. I appreciate all the kind words and hope you have a good day.

@ livingsta - thanks for all the comments. I appreciate the sharing as well.

@ Ms Dora - thanks for stopping by. Glad you like the recipes.

@ prasetio - appreciate your comments and visit. Thank you, my friend.

@ Aurelio - You are right. Better be safe than sorry. Thanks for stopping by.

@ Rasma - good to know you love them. Appreciate the votes and sharing.

moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

5 stars for this. I like mushrooms cooked in beef broth whole but I don't like them on pizza or sliced in a dish. Great information on this hub.

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks for visiting and commenting moonlake.

Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 3 years ago from Brownsville,TX

I love mushrooms.. I would put them in everything I eat.. if my family would let me.. lol.. great hub.. thank you for always telling us about the different foods and the vitamins etc.. sharing on cooking time and TOPS on Facebook


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Rajan,

Terrific article about mushrooms. I learned much by reading this. I am going to add a link from this hub to mine titled Pictures of Mushrooms and Fungus - Wild Ones! Wish I knew more about safely picking the wild ones. We typically keep some cremini ones in the house almost all of the time and often purchase others as well. So many things can be done with mushrooms! Gave this 5 stars, up votes and will share.

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Thanks for this thorough look at mushrooms. I am glad to learn that they contain so much selenium and I learned other new-to-me info. I'll be back to look at the recipe videos!

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ Debbie - thanks for sharing this hub and its so good to see you.

@ Peggy - thanks for the votes, linking and sharing. I'll be checking out this hub of yours. Much appreciated.

@ RT - appreciate the look in and thank you.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Thanks for the link back Rajan. Between the two of us we have certainly covered quite a bit about the subject of mushrooms...both the domesticated ones and the wild ones. You always put so much research and effort into your hubs! I always learn something from reading your hubs.

lemonkerdz profile image

lemonkerdz 3 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

Love mushrooms, but picking them mtself?

i would love to do it but would be worried about picking the wrong thing. there are so many different types and tastes from chicken to bacon.

i did pick up a book on the different types as you mentioned. Maybe soon i will head out to the woods. :-)

great hub

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ Peggy - I agree with you. Thanks for the compliments and I can say that for you as well, my friend. You really go all out to incorporate so much info and your pictures are absolutely stunning. Love the layout of tour hubs too. Thanks for the support.

@ lemonkerdz - Picking up wild mushrooms for eating should be left to the experts. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Sueswan 3 years ago

Hi Rajan,

Thank you for sharing the nutritional benefits of mushrooms. I love Portabella mushrooms. So many more I need to try. I have read foods high in copper like mushrooms prevent gray hair.

Voted up and awesome


Have a great week. :)

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

Brilliant as always rajan.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@Sueswan-copper has iron and iron is useful to maintain the color of the hair. thanks for the read and sharing.

@Eddy- thanks and good to see you.

younghopes profile image

younghopes 3 years ago from India

Interesting hub, and shared it for those who love eating mushrooms, i just hate them.

thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 3 years ago from West Virginia

Rajan, well done my friend. I knew mushrooms had perks, but I didn't know that there was this many benefits. Fantastic article, I'll bookmark this for later use. I've had a lot of stomach issues and I'm wondering if I should try using mushrooms. I will anyway because of the digestive help it brings. Very interesting article Rajan, voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, and shared on FB. 5 stars also, great article!!!

sfshine profile image

sfshine 3 years ago from Michigan

Very useful information. I did not know all of these. It is one of my favorite in special dishes.

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@Shadaan-thanks for sharing and reading.

@thelyricwriter-thanks for the read, votes, sharing and appreciation.

@sfshine-glad you like mushrooms. I love them.

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    Rajan Singh Jolly (rajan jolly)1,141 Followers
    309 Articles

    Rajan is a major in Botany and Chemistry. Has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years of his career breeding layer & broiler parents.

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