Vegetable of the Week: Mushroom

– Mushrooms are actually a fungus and not a vegetable
– Mushrooms are classified as edible when they are not toxic to humans as well as based on taste and aroma
– Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of any number of types of macrofungi (fungi with fruiting structures visible to the naked eyed)
– Mushrooms are typically made up of a cap, stipe (stem) and gills/pores, and can vary greatly in size depending on species and maturity level
– One of the most popularly eaten mushrooms is Agaricus bisporus, which has several common names depending on maturity
– Agaricus bisporus is called a white mushroom (or button mushroom) when white in colour and immature, or a brown mushroom when brown in colour and immature
– A portobello mushroom is an Agaricus bisporus that has reached maturity
– Other types of mushroom often found in grocery stores are shiitake, oyster, enoki and chanterelle
– The earliest evidence of humans consuming edible mushrooms is 13,000 years ago in Chile
– Edible mushrooms are also known to have been eaten in ancient China, Greece, Egypt and Rome
– Unlike plants, mushrooms do not grow through photosynthesis, but through biochemical decomposition processes
– Growers grow mushrooms in specially produced compost made up of ingredients such as corn and hay
– Growers must wait 30 days from the time that compost is mixed with mushroom spawn in order to begin harvesting
– The majority of commercially available mushrooms are produced on indoor trays
– Other mushroom growing techniques include outdoor log harvesting and wild harvesting
– China is currently the biggest mushroom producer in the world

Pureed Mushroom Soup

Pureed Mushroom Soup
Makes 4-6 servings

2 tbs. olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
20 oz. white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 medium-to-large potato, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
2 sprigs thyme, leaves taken off the stem
2 14.5 oz. cans of chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 – 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms, potato, thyme, broth and enough water to cover, about 2 – 3 cups. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the mushrooms and potatoes are tender, about 20 – 30 minutes. Using a blender or an immersion blender, puree the broth and veggies until smooth. If using a blender, work in batches and fill only halfway, allowing the heat to escape. Transfer to a clean pot as you work. Adjust the soup’s consistency with a little water if needed, and season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

(Source: Recipe adapted from


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