In the event you watched the documentary Seaspiracy and contemplated the state of the oceans, it’s possible you’ll be questioning, “Can I discover a seafood various that’s each sustainable and wholesome for me?” The reply is, “Sure!” As an entire meals, plant-based forager, I’ve encountered mushrooms that mimic each animal product conceivable, from the feel, look, style, and odor. For a meal I made at dwelling, I discovered and ready a wild, foraged lion’s mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus, that simply so occurred to appear like a fish fillet. It was meaty, chewy, and alarmingly near wanting like an actual fish. I do know just a few vegans that may have declined the meal on sight had they not seen me harvest it from the tree!
As an entire meals, plant-based forager, I’ve encountered mushrooms that mimic each animal product conceivable, from the feel, look, style, and odor.
The place Can I Discover These Mushrooms?
Among the mushrooms I describe under have been cultivated by people and might be present in shops or markets. Others will should be foraged or bought from a educated and beneficiant forager. Verify your native legal guidelines previous to foraging as legal guidelines range by park, state, and nation. As all the time, don’t eat something that you just can not positively establish. To learn more about the foraging of wild foods near you, join with native naturalists, mycologists, universities, and golf equipment!
Now that you’re able to discover fish alternate options which can be wholesome and sustainable, I’m excited to current to you my high 5 entire meals, mushroom-based fish and meat substitutes.
1. Oyster Mushrooms, Pleurotus spp., Substitute for Scallops, Shellfish, and White Fish
Time of Yr: Yr-round
The place to Discover Them: Generally cultivated, accessible in grocery shops
In the event you’ve ventured exterior of the usual white button mushroom or portabella, there’s a excessive probability that you just’ve loved an oyster mushroom. This mushroom is each simple to seek out whereas foraging and comparatively simple to develop. The oyster mushroom encompasses a variety of species within the Pleurotus genus, and their style and texture can range. Whereas consuming fish would possibly depart you with elevated ldl cholesterol, this scrumptious mushroom would possibly truly decrease your ldl cholesterol. Pleurotus ostreatus (pictured under), a typical mushroom in North America, accommodates as much as 2.8% lovastatin by dry weight. When fed to rats, it lowered their serum and liver ldl cholesterol by 33% and 27%, respectively. Whereas this is good news for rats, people can probably expertise comparable advantages as we eat extra mushrooms and fewer fish. Saving the oceans and managing ldl cholesterol has by no means been a extra interesting enterprise.
Oyster mushrooms style their greatest when the gills are nonetheless white. As they age, they flip yellow after which brown, and so they develop a robust fishy odor. Wild varieties style totally different from cultivated varieties; they comprise totally different vitamins and even have distinctive diets! Whereas cultivated oyster mushrooms may be grown on sterilized grains or grasses, wild oyster mushrooms feed on decaying timber and nematodes.
Left: Discover how the gills of Pleurotus ostreatus proceed up the size of the stipe/stem. Proper: Pleurotus ostreatus habitat — Search for useless timber close to rivers and streams
2. Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Hericium spp., Substitute for Crab in Crab Truffles
Time of Yr: Fall by way of spring
The place to Discover Them: Generally cultivated, accessible in some grocery shops, or from a grower
Hericium is one other genus of mushroom that’s turning into more and more widespread in america. Whereas lion’s mane has been used medicinally for hundreds of years in South East Asia and Japan, individuals worldwide proceed to hunt out and buy this mushroom for its medicinal qualities. Among the documented well being claims embrace:
- Anti-tumor and immune-modulating actions. In vitro and in vivo analysis on esophageal most cancers, intestinal most cancers, pancreatic most cancers, and abdomen cancers.
- Antihyperglycemic and antihypercholesterolemic exercise.
- Neuronal progress exercise.
- Antimicrobial exercise.
- Antioxidant and anti-aging actions.
Whereas this mushroom continues to obtain the main focus of some specialists worldwide, many of those well being advantages usually are not confined solely to lion’s mane. Quite than give attention to reductionist analysis, and quite than consuming this mushroom for particular well being advantages, I hunt down the lion’s mane mushroom as a result of I discover it scrumptious, healthful, and exquisite. Whereas I’ve ready this mushroom in many various methods, crab truffles have gained my coronary heart.
Left: Entire meals, plant-based lion’s mane truffles Proper: Winter lion’s mane harvested 20–30 ft within the air.
3. Maitake Mushroom, or Hen of the Woods, Grifola frondosa, Substitute for Lobster or Crab
Time of Yr: Fall
The place to Discover Them: Repeatedly cultivated, accessible in grocery shops
I first tried Maitake mushroom in a butternut squash curry, and it introduced again my childhood recollections of lobster bisque. Earlier than going vegan, I used to inform those that lobster was my favourite meals. When pulled aside and cooked in balsamic vinegar and mustard, this was one in all my favourite mushroom dishes but! You will discover these mushrooms cultivated, however they are typically very small, whereas the wild variations can develop as much as 10 or 15 lbs! I as soon as discovered over 15 lbs of hen of the woods mushrooms, and at one level, my total fridge was stuffed with this mushroom. I had lots to eat every day whereas additionally gifting it to mates, household, and even strangers. This mushroom might be difficult to seek out. For individuals who are new to foraging, learn to discover and establish this mushroom. There are not any lethal look-alikes in North America. I generally see this mushroom subsequent to purple oak timber within the early fall.
Hen of the woods noticed in an Atlanta park! You gained’t discover a maitake this dimension in your native grocery retailer!
Lentil-curry hen-of-the-woods bisque
4. Cauliflower Mushrooms, Sparassis spp., Substitute for Calamari
Time of Yr: Summer time
The place to Discover Them: Cultivated in Asia, accessible by wild foraging
The cauliflower mushroom is among the extra elusive and exquisite mushrooms on this listing. My girlfriend’s dad and mom despatched me this photograph asking for an identification. I instructed them to take the mushroom instantly, and so they gifted half to me and saved half for themselves. The mushroom has the unmistakable texture of calamari. Whereas I didn’t batter and fry this mushroom myself, I might see it changing the squid market in the future. Whereas the cultivation of this mushroom is uncommon, there’s analysis on cultivation in Korea, and I consider this mushroom might be extra generally produced within the coming years.
Sparassis spathulata foraged and photographed by Stephen Johnson
5. Younger Hen of the Woods, Laetiporus spp., Substitute for Hen or Salmon
Time of Yr: Spring by way of fall
The place to Discover Them: Troublesome to domesticate, accessible by wild foraging
Because the title implies, this mushroom is a superb rooster substitute. The mature specimen is commonly stringy and considerably dry. It requires a pleasant marinade and goes properly in BBQ rooster recipes. Final yr was my first yr discovering a rooster of the woods, and I didn’t discover only one however seven totally different mushrooms, weighing a complete of practically 20 kilos! I made a TikTok video to seize my unbelievable discover, which resonated with many individuals because it was seen over 346,000 occasions!
The younger model of this mushroom is delicate and light-weight, simple to chew, and scrumptious. I cooked the water out of the mushroom, and as soon as I browned all sides, I added lemon and pepper. It was delectable, and the feel jogged my memory of salmon or scallops whereas nonetheless younger and tender.
A younger and huge specimen of Laetiporus cincinnatus, or white-pored rooster of the woods
A younger Laetiporus sulphureus, the yellow pored rooster of the woods
An older specimen of Laetiporus sulphureus, with a dry, stringy, chicken-like consistency
Younger and tender rooster of the woods. Cooked Hen of the woods, completed with lemon and black pepper
Our oceans want time to relaxation, regenerate, and heal. In the event you care concerning the state of our oceans and also you need to do all that you would be able to to assist assist the varied and struggling ecosystem, begin together with your weight loss program. Mushrooms can sustainably substitute each sort of seafood conceivable, from salmon to white fish, oysters to scallops, and crabs to squid. By eradicating fish out of your weight loss program and changing it with mushrooms, you’ll expertise a wide selection of tastes and textures that mimic the consistency and even the style of seafood with out contributing to the destruction of the ocean. By discovering mushrooms domestically, both by way of foraging or shopping for from native sellers, you can be supporting the seas, your well being, and the well being of our planet.
- Abrams, D. I., Couey, P., Shade, S. B., Kelly, M. E., Kamanu-Elias, N., & Stamets, P. (2011). Antihyperlipidemic results of Pleurotus ostreatus (oyster mushrooms) in HIV-infected people taking antiretroviral remedy. BMC Complementary and Different Medication, 11 (60).https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-11-60
- Thongbai, B., Rapior, S., Hyde, Ok.D. et al. (2015). Hericium erinaceus, an incredible medicinal mushroom. Mycol Progress 14,91. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11557-015-1105-4
- Park, H. Ryu, S. R., & Ka, Ok. H. (2011). Cultivation of Sparassis crispa on a number of sorts of medium density and particle dimension of sawdust-based medium made from Larix kaempferi. Journal of the Korean Wooden Science and Expertise, 39(1), 68–74.doi:10.5658/WOOD.2011.39.1.68
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