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Are Mushrooms Vegetables – Time to Reveal The Secret

Mushrooms are considered a godly dish because of the extremely high nutritional content they provide.

They contain large amounts of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for health,  helping the body to prevent diseases for a healthy life. However, many people do not fully know about mushrooms and still consider them as plants.

So, are mushrooms vegetables? This might surprise a lot of people but for a straightforward and simple answer, then NO, mushrooms are not vegetables.

Scientists do not classify mushrooms in the same group as plants because they have many different properties than normal plants.

What Are The Characteristics Of Mushrooms?

What are the characteristics of mushrooms

Biological Structure Of Mushrooms

The structure of the mushroom has two main parts: the mycelium and the mushroom cap.

Mycelium is a vegetative organ consisting of septum cells, each with two nuclei, and free of chlorophyll.

Meanwhile, the mushroom cap is located on the stalk. It is a reproductive organ. Under the mushroom cap, many thin sheets are containing many spores.

Hats are usually conical or funnel-shaped, with a sticky stalk in the middle or side. The underside of this group is composed of thin sheets that are arranged close together like spokes. In some cases, the blade extends from the cap to the stem.

In cuisine, people often use the body and the mushroom hat to process food. However, it is necessary to prepare very carefully because many types of fungi contain toxins that can cause poisoning and danger to humans.

Ecological Characteristics

Mushrooms have a symbiotic relationship with almost all other plants. Their relationships can be mutually supportive or mutually exclusive.

The symbiosis with plants has a long history, at least from more than 400 million years ago, which is also known as mycorrhiza.

It is divided into two types: mycorrhiza (endomycorrhiza) and external mycorrhiza (ectomycorrhiza). We can easily find both of these kinds while picking mushrooms in the forest.

This is the best known fungal complex. They play an important role in plant growth and many ecosystems. More than 90% of the plant species are fungal-related in the mycorrhizal form and depend on this affinity for survival.

They often increase the ability of plants to absorb inorganic compounds, such as nitrates and phosphates.

In some mycorrhiza, the fungal composition can act as an intermediary between the plant and the plant, transporting carbohydrates and other nutrients.

Some mushrooms can stimulate plant growth by secreting plant hormones such as indoleacetic acid (IAA). Also, they can secrete mycotoxins to prevent herbivores from eating their hosts.

These toxins are the cause of mycotoxicosis, causing many dangerous diseases for humans. If it is mild, you may experience abdominal pain, dizziness, and severe health conditions such as coma or death.

The Diversity Of Mushrooms

Mushrooms are distributed around the world and grow in a variety of habitats, including deserts.

You can easily find a specific mushroom substitute everywhere on Earth. Most of them live on dry land, but some species are only found in aquatic environments.

Mushrooms are major decomposers that play an important role in terrestrial ecosystems around the world.

Based on the ratio of the number of species of fungus to the number of plant species in the same environment, it is estimated that there are about 1.5 million species of fungi.

There are about 70,000 species of fungi that have been discovered and described by taxonomists. Still, the actual size of the fungus diversity remains a mystery.

Most fungi grow as multicellular filaments called mycelium, which make up mycelium (or mycelium), while other species develop a single-cell amorphism.

Until recently, many mushrooms have been described based on morphological features. These contain sizes and shapes of the spores or pods, or organism concepts.

This has greatly increased the way and ability to estimate fungal diversity within different taxonomic groups.

Are Mushrooms Vegetables?

Different Characteristics Compared To Vegetables

So, what are mushrooms classified as? Just to be clear, mushrooms are not classified in the group of plants.

The first thing to distinguish from mushroom fruit or vegetable is they all have their own characteristics, different from other vegetables.

First, fungi have bodies that are only made of fibers or altered forms of the mycelium. They do not yet have separate nutritional organs.

Hyphae can only elongate at the tip. They also often grow in symbiosis in plant roots and grow from the soil in moist environments.

Meanwhile, in terms of botany, vegetables are born as a part of the plant. They are vegetables with abnormally enlarged stems or roots to store nutrients. Scientists have distinguished three different types of tubers: tubers, tuberous roots, and tubers type potatoes.

Second, fungi belong to the group of eukaryotic organisms like plants, but the cell walls of fungi are not made of cellulose as in plants.

The storage substance in the mushroom cell is not starch like in the plant cell, but it is glycogen (as a storage substance in the human liver).

The most obvious thing is that mushrooms do not have the green or vibrant color of vegetables and fruits.

Vegetables are usually colorful. Inside, the bulb contains many starches, fiber, vitamin B, vitamin C, and minerals necessary for the body of potassium and manganese.

Finally, the mushrooms are often bitter or mildly sweet in the herbal style. The reason is that the fungus contains Triterpenes, which is the main factor that influences the characteristic bitter taste.

And in different types of mushrooms, there will be different active ingredients, so the scent of each mushroom will also become different.

The different growing media conditions affected the proportions of ingredients in the fungi. The higher the ratio of triterpenes, the higher the bitterness.

In contrast, vegetables tend to have a lighter, sweeter flavor and are often eaten as part of a side dish or main dish.

As the plant absorbs moisture, minerals from the soil, and all the ingredients it needs to grow, its storage cells expand, binding to water, sugars, starches, organic acids, vitamins, and minerals. The peels of the vegetables will turn into attractive colors.

Gradually, as the harvest date approaches, the acid content of the fruits decreases while the sugar content increases. The alkaloids and tannins (nitrogen-containing organic compounds and biological molecules) began to disappear.

A fragrance develops as the acid and protein composition changes, and the vegetable texture becomes softer and easier to eat. At this point, you can create amazing dishes such as vegetable soup.

Mushrooms Are Heterotrophic Organisms

This is the next reason why mushrooms aren’t plants. Mushrooms usually grow in mycelium in solid soil or water. They are all tuned to absorb the most effective nutrients from the environment.

These molecules are hydrolyzed into smaller molecules, which then become nutrients that are absorbed into the fungal cell.

Usually, fungi are considered heterotrophic organisms, which are bodies that can only extract carbon from other organisms for metabolism.

But mushrooms have evolved a metabolic capacity that allows them to utilize organic matrices for growth, including simple compounds such as nitrates, ammonia, acetates, or ethanol. 

Recent studies suggest the possibility that the fungus used the pigment melanin to obtain energy from ionizing radiation, such as gamma rays, roughly referred to as “radio nutrients.” 

It is thought that this process has similarities with photosynthesis in plants, but there is a lack of valid biochemical evidence to support this hypothesis.

Vegetables and fruits are grown from plants, which belong to the group of autotrophs. These include all organisms that synthesize the nutrients needed by themselves; to survive and thrive, this group only needs H2O, CO2, inorganic salts, and energy sources.

The substance that can convert the energy of light to fix CO2 into starch is chlorophyll, with a characteristic green color. Mushrooms don’t have this chemical, and that explains the question, “why don’t mushrooms have green leaves?”

However, if there are no other mineral elements and the water in the soil is absorbed by the root system, even if the light is abundant, the plant cannot spontaneously turn CO2 into sugar.

Therefore, it can be said that plants have two nutritional systems, the root system, and the leaf system.

Vegetables and fruits often absorb nutrients through the roots. The root system has to absorb many minerals and water, so it must develop in both width and depth; during this process, the roots swell and form vegetables and fruits.

What Are The Nutritional Values Of Mushrooms?

Not only delicious food, many kinds of mushrooms such as needle sticks, oyster mushrooms, or chicken drumsticks also work to enhance resistance, anti-aging, reduce cancer risk and cholesterol levels.

On average, 100 grams of fresh mushrooms contain 25-40% protein, 17-19 types of amino acids, including 7-9 types of amino acids that the body cannot synthesize, and 7% of mineral content.

Besides, fresh mushroom is a great source of vitamins B1, B6, B12, PP. Mushrooms contain high calories, helping you get enough energy to work.

In particular, mushrooms have antioxidant reserves equivalent to the healthiest products in vegetables.

Fungal selenium inhibits tumor growth, high blood pressure problems. It also fights inflammation, activates liver enzymes, and aids in the deactivation of prostate cancer-causing elements.

Mushrooms are an excellent source of fiber with a relatively high value, even higher than some plants, for instance, sweet potatoes or tomatoes.

Nutrition experts and professionals have announced: on average, a 100-gram serving of mushrooms contains about 2.5 grams of dietary fiber, compared with 1.8 grams in 100 grams of celery or 2 grams in a slice of bread.

Depending on the type of mushroom that may contain higher levels, such as dried straw mushrooms with 21 grams of fiber and abalone mushrooms containing 8-14% by weight of fiber.

How To Preserve Mushrooms

Mushrooms often have a short shelf life, difficult to preserve freshness. They can be severely damaged in just about 1 to 2 days.

It would help if you only bought enough to eat. In the event of a hoard purchase, we will show you the proper storage.

Store The Mushrooms At Room Temperature

Mushrooms can be kept fresh for four days if kept at 10 – 15 degrees Celsius. If you want to keep mushrooms longer, put them in vacuum bags and put them in the refrigerator.

If not, you can also use the way to blanch the mushrooms over boiling water for about 2 minutes and then take them out and drop them into cold water and let you put them in the refrigerator cooler.

With this method, you can preserve the mushrooms for about 3 to 4 days while the mushrooms are still fresh.

Preserving The Mushrooms In Salt

You should simmer the mushrooms in boiling water and salt for 10 to 15 minutes. Once the mushrooms are softening, remove them quickly and let them cool. 

Wait a while, then put the mushrooms in a clean bottle, soak them in saltwater with a concentration of 20-23%.

During such a salt bath, if the brine is cloudy or moldy, it is advisable to change to another saltwater to avoid infection. This way, you can keep the mushrooms for several months.

Dry The Mushrooms

If you want to preserve it for longer, you should not refrigerate and dry the mushrooms. First, you need to use a small knife to cut the mushrooms in half and dry them in the sun.

When you use it, it would be best if you soak the mushrooms in the water. At this point, the mushrooms will bloom, and you can make delicious dishes like sautéed mushrooms with olive oil. It is much better than canned mushrooms you get from the supermarket.

In Conclusion

What are the nutritional values of mushrooms

Mushrooms are very popular in many cuisines. It is a good calorie source and has great nutritional benefits for the human diet.  Knowing the answer to the question What is a mushroom considered is very important to understand its properties and how to preserve it properly.

We hope that after this article, you will have the etiquette answer to the question, “Are mushrooms vegetables.” Thank you for reading!

Kevin Richard
 

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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