Many people have this idea in their head that something like freeze-dried mushrooms would not be a good addition to their food storage. Something about frivolity, or not being a real staple, or something. On the other side of the coin are the ideas floating around the internet that mushrooms are a lesser-known superfood: a good Vitamin D supplement, and an excellent source of protein. One blog I read read said that mushrooms are higher in protein than meat! Those sound like very good reasons to eat a lot more mushrooms, so I decided to investigate.
Before you go crazy and buy enough freeze dried mushrooms to make it 75% of your food storage, it’s important to understand what mushrooms are and what they aren’t. When I dug a little deeper into the actual scientific research, I learned that assertions regarding vitamin D and protein content can be misleading. Mushrooms are tasty and versatile, and they do contain a moderate amount of nutrition. But when all is said and done, they aren’t the superfood that some claim them to be.
First of all, mushrooms do contain protein. 20% of a mushroom’s dried mass is just protein. However, a) this number refers to dried mushrooms. Visualize how many dried mushrooms it would take by weight to equal one steak. And b) a lot of that protein is in the form of chitin, the same stuff that crab shells are made of chitin has many practical uses, but it tends to be difficult for humans to digest. If it’s protein you’re after, you’re better off getting freeze-dried hamburger or TVP.
Here’s an interesting little parlor trick unique to mushrooms – when you put dehydrated mushrooms outside in the sunshine, they create vitamin D in a process similar to that of humans. Freeze-dried mushrooms are similar in nutritional content and structure to dehydrated mushrooms, so it follows that the stuff you get in a can from Thrive Life would do the same thing. There aren’t any studies done on this specifically testing FD mushrooms, but a mushroom expert I contacted suggested that this was a reasonable assumption. Unfortunately, the vitamin D present in mushrooms after sun exposure is Vitamin D2, and not Vitamin D3, which is what humans require. If you are looking really seriously into storing a vitamin D supplement, cod liver oil, this is the brand I use, would be a better suggestion.
That said, mushrooms are still good for you and you should still get some for your food storage.
Let’s back up for just a second, and analyze why we have food storage in the first place: Self-reliance. Food for emergencies. So you don’t have to run to the store every time you need a little something. So that, in times when other sources of nutrition are unavailable, you won’t develop nutrient deficiencies that present as beriberi, pellagra, scurvy, or rickets. A can of freeze-fried mushrooms fits these requirements perfectly.
Mushrooms are high in B vitamins such as niacin and riboflavin, contain calcium and potassium, and selenium.
Imagine fresh mushrooms. If you forget them in the fridge for a couple of days, they break down and turn rapidly into a pile of extremely offensive gunk. You could also get one of those mushroom kits that have become so popular. I got one a few years ago and got a lot of mushrooms from it, but it was a little bit of a commitment, almost like having a pet. FD mushrooms, on the other hand, are shelf stable and in an unopened, sealed can, and are good for a couple of decades. You can’t beat freeze-dried anything when it comes to convenience and shelf-life. An open can will last for up to a year in your pantry.
Using FD Mushrooms
As with everything freeze-dried, anything you can do with fresh ingredients can be done with freeze-dried ingredients. Reconstitute and add as a pizza topping. Add to your spaghetti sauce as it simmers on the stove, add to a creamy beef-flavored gravy to serve with Swedish meatballs. For an extra-delicious homemade hamburger, try this recipe for a beef-mushroom burger from food network, that has you add chopped mushrooms to your ground beef before you make them into patties.
Freeze-dried mushrooms allow you to enjoy the rich flavor of shrooms any time of the year, any time the mood hits and Thrive Life mushrooms are excellent quality.