Mushrooms will be the trend of 2022? At least according to the NYT

Mushrooms will be the ingredient of the year, according to the New York Times, mainly for two reasons. Why?

As in the past, the  New York Times has compiled a list of foods (and beverages) to be on trend for the next 12 months : it’s interesting and complicated, especially in times of unexpected events: a pandemic or war in the East. 

One such ingredient, however, is mushrooms, which, according to the famous American newspaper, will even be the “ingredient of the year”: here we explain why and which mushrooms would be preferred. 

Mushrooms are the ingredient of the year

The reasons why mushrooms are gaining more and more space in our lives and in our kitchen can basically be divided into two macro-areas: there are  culinary reasons and reasons for sustainable development .

First of all, mushrooms are a simple trick that will add a pinch of interesting flavor to any recipe: not only as an additive, but also as a “hidden” element or main ingredient of a dish: they can be ground and added to burger meat, or they can be used in mixed meat. ”That combines animal and plant-based ingredients to reduce the environmental impact of what you eat. And also to make it tastier.

The advantage of mushrooms, which somehow leads us to the second reason for their success, is that they are  umami: they are neither sweet nor bitter, nor sour nor salty, but have their own flavor. Umami, actually. This is the typical flavor of oriental cuisine, where actually mushrooms are widely used, and it is a flavor we like very much (no wonder it is a staple in many types of fast food) and it is also a flavor that is very similar to meat. 

As much? Mushrooms can be an important alternative to animal proteins: many companies and startups raise millions of dollars to fund their idea of ​​using them to create meat substitutes in the fermentation process. Their consistency also helps, which in fact resembles meat and makes them “ready”.

Also thanks to this property that Americans call “texture”, mushroom fibers are already (and will be increasingly) used to create cheaper, compostable and sustainable packaging materials. Or even make bags and clothes out of them (seriously!).

What mushrooms to choose and how to prepare them

In short, a further  increase in mushroom consumption is predictable this year and, at least according to the New York Times, an increase in fungi in city gardens, and even home gardens, where they can be grown, and through small farms.

But what mushrooms do they mean? American experts focus mainly on two variants:  King Oyster (they probably mean Santa Oyster mushroom ) and Brown Oyster Cluster (another type of oyster mushroom). In English, “oyster” means oyster, because these mushrooms actually have a flavor reminiscent of the famous mollusk, and in our country they may correspond to  different varieties of shunt : in general, they all belong  to the oyster mushroom family .

Their taste helps them to adapt to different situations, whether as a snack, as an addition to sandwiches or as a supplement to soup or risotto. They are widely used, although as I love breaded in egg and breadcrumbs, and then fried, they are then crunchy and taste almost like a cutlet.

Eating mushrooms, is it possible?

Having said all that, it remains to answer a few questions on a topic that is often asked:  are mushrooms good for everyone ? Can anyone eat them? Can they be dangerous? 

Mushrooms are rich in proteins, vitamin B, zinc, potassium and selenium, so they are definitely healthy.

Be careful with the amount, because consuming too much mushrooms can be toxic to us. It is best if the forest mushrooms are well cooked and if you go to the forest pick mushrooms, check whether they are not poisonous. In a shop or when growing, you know what these mushrooms are, but it is a bit different when it comes to forest mushrooms. You should also stick to the rule that if you are unsure, don’t eat them!

There are also people who do not tolerate mushrooms and are advised to avoid them.
Basically, these are people who suffer from IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or at least have intestinal problems, have poor tolerance to fungi, and have poor tolerance for yeast and acidified or fermented foods: therefore they should be careful.

As always, however, it is better to  be careful which mushrooms you pick  (if you pick them yourself)  and who are you buying them from , if you are buying them. 

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