I had never had a crimini mushroom while I was growing up. Mushrooms were a common part of our menu and white button mushrooms were one of the only not processed foods we purchased at a grocery store. Most of our mushrooms were gathered in the forests, clear cut and cemetery lots near my home and then sautéed in lard. I loved to sneak fresh mushrooms from the pile before they were cooked. The oily heavy flavor after cooking in lard didn’t appeal to me. When I started buying and cooking for myself I found myself looking at the familiar button mushrooms and eating a whole pint raw. The others were unfamiliar, but I have enjoyed learning about many kinds of mushrooms and been surprised about the great health benefits of mushrooms.
People do not usually consider mushrooms as a part of their meals tat can offer great nutritional value. However, the nutritional value of mushrooms may surprise you. For example, one cup of crimini mushrooms provides a good, very good, or excellent source of 15 different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant phytonutrhients. To maximize their flavor and the retention of their nutrients it is important to not to overcook them.
Other interesting mushroom facts:
• Did you know that most of the table mushrooms we eat are all of the same variety? Its name is Agaricus bisporus, according to Wikipedia, and it includes portobello, cremini, and white button mushrooms.
• The difference between these popular varieties of mushrooms is just age. The white button mushrooms, those very familiar kitchen staples, are simply the youngest variety. They have been cultivated, too, for that white color and soft texture. In the wild these mushrooms are usually browner.
• The portobello is the most mature mushroom here; it’s really just an overgrown white mushroom! They are left to grow for longer, until they have spread out into that delicious meaty cap.
• The cremini mushroom, then, is just in between these two varieties. It’s a moderately mature version of the white button mushroom, which is why it has a similar flavor. It’s younger than the portobello, but still related, which is why these are sometimes sold as “baby bella” or “baby portobello” mushrooms.
We enjoy the cremini mushrooms a lot; their slightly more mature state means that they have a browner color, firmer texture, and better flavor than the younger white mushrooms. We use them frequently in stews and soups, since we find that they hold up better in liquid.
Here is the nutritional breakdown for Crimini Mushroom. Scroll down for a great recipe!
GI: very low
- 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Lemon juice, to taste
- Dry sherry, to taste (optional; see Note)
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add thyme and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in mushrooms, cover pot and steam until the mushrooms exude their moisture, about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in broth, scraping up any flour that clings to the pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and smooth, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Combine sour cream and milk; whisk into the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Gently heat until the soup is hot but not boiling. Just before serving, stir in lemon juice and sherry (if using).