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July 29, 2010

Shiitake Mushroom Kit

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Long a symbol of longevity in Asia because of their health-promoting properties, shiitake mushrooms have been used medicinally by the Chinese for more than 6,000 years. More recently, their rich, smoky flavor has endeared them to American taste buds and these exotic hearty mushrooms can now be found in supermarket shelves across the U.S. throughout the year.

Like other mushrooms, these specialty mushrooms are as unique as they are delicious. While often thought of as a vegetable and prepared like one, mushrooms are actually a fungus, which has no roots, leaves, flowers or seeds.

L-ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant, has been discovered in mushrooms. In research presented at the 2005 American Chemical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., an American research team revealed that mushrooms contain higher concentrations L-ergothioneine than either of the two dietary sources previously believed to contain the most: chicken liver and wheat germ. Shiitake, oyster, king oyster and maitake mushrooms contain the highest amounts of ergothioneine. This equals forty times as much as is found in wheat germ.

Of the most commonly consumed mushrooms, portabellas and criminis have the most L-ergothioneine, followed by white buttons. White buttons, the most popular of all mushrooms consumed in the U.S., contain up to 5 mg per three ounce serving-12 times as much as wheat germ and 4 times more than chicken liver. And more good news, L-ergothioneine is not destroyed when mushrooms are cooked.

So if you're interested in growing shitakes for your health or your palate, you can grow them at home from a mushroom kit. They grow well in temperatures of 50 to 80 degrees, so if you're roasting in the sun, you can stay indoors and still watch something grow.

At Shiitake Mushroom Kit

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Posted by Marilyn Renaker at July 29, 2010 10:10 AM
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