When we forage for mushrooms, we are always tempted to pick them up and taste them. But many of us are unsure if it’s okay to eat the stems of mushrooms or not. Some people say that they have gotten sick from eating their stems, but others say they’ve eaten them with no problem whatsoever. So, is it safe to nibble on the stem of your favorite fungi?
Can You Eat Mushroom Stems?
Yes, you can eat mushroom stems. Mushroom stems are edible, and they’re not poisonous. They can be cooked or eaten raw. Mushroom stems are not toxic to humans.
Benefits Of Eating Mushroom Stems
Mushroom stems are an overlooked vegetable, but they’re packed with a lot of great nutrients. Here’s why you should consider adding mushroom stems to your diet:
- Fiber: Mushroom stems are high in fiber, which can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Fiber is also important for maintaining regular bowel movements and keeping food moving through your digestive system efficiently so you don’t experience bloating or cramping after meals.
- Vitamin D: Mushrooms contain more vitamin D than any other common foods except eggs and dairy products (which are heavily fortified with supplemental vitamin D). Vitamin D is essential for bone health and may play a role in the prevention of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS).
- Vitamin B6: The vitamin B6 content of mushrooms is higher than that found in most vegetables and grains—it’s even higher than beef! A deficiency of this essential nutrient can result in hyperactivity, growth problems, depression, and cognitive impairment.
What Do Mushroom Stems Taste Like?
Mushroom stems are actually more like a cross between the stem of green beans and celery. They’re crunchy and slightly fibrous but with a slightly sweet flavor that makes them perfect for stir-fries or sautéed with other vegetables and herbs. The stems cook quickly so they retain their nutrients better than mushrooms themselves do when cooked for long periods of time on high heat
How To Clean Mushroom Stems
You can use a brush to clean dirt off of mushroom stems. You can also remove the dirt by soaking them in water for a few minutes, or even by using a knife to scrape off the gritty stuff.
If you’re buying mushrooms from the store, take care that they haven’t been washed with chlorinated water. This will make your dish taste like chlorine instead of a fresh, earthy flavor!
How To Cook Mushroom Stems?
Mushroom stems can be cooked in a variety of ways. Some are quite simple and some are more complex. Here are some examples:
Simple mushroom stem recipes include sauteing them with butter and garlic or dipping them in tempura batter and deep frying them. You can also lightly steam the mushroom stems and serve them as a side dish.
More complex recipes include using the stems as an ingredient in soups, pesto sauces, stir-fries, or stews. You can also add them to your favorite pasta dish or make a vegetarian pizza by topping it with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and cheese sauce.
What Can You Use Mushroom Stems For?
Mushroom stems are one of those things you usually only think about when you’re about to throw them out. But don’t toss those stems! Here are 5 ways to use mushroom stems in your cooking:
1. Make the mushroom broth. You can make a flavorful, nutrient-rich broth with the stems and trimmings from your mushrooms. Just simmer the stems, trimmings, and water for about 30 minutes, then strain out the solids and use as desired.
2. Add them to soups and stews. The flavor of mushrooms is excellent in soups and stews, especially when paired with other earthy ingredients like onion and garlic.
3. Use them as a substitute for pasta in lasagna or stuffed eggplant dishes like caponata or moussaka.
4. Dip them in batter and fry them up into fritters (like tempura). These fried treats make an amazing appetizer or snack!
5. Add them to omelets or frittatas for extra flavor and texture (just be sure not to overdo it).
So, to answer the question “can you eat mushroom stems?” The answer is YES! You can eat your mushroom stems and get a lot of health benefits from them. That being said, I always recommend that you eat only organic mushrooms because they may contain chemicals.
Kate has been in the food business for over 20 years. Worked as a cook at several buffets which include Old Country Buffet, Five Star Buffet, and Ichiban Buffet. Now, I’m mostly at home cooking for my family, caring for chickens and ducks, and tending the garden.