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|Food Buzz: History of Mushrooms|
Blazei mushrooms are small to medium in size, growing individually or in clusters, and have a rounded, convex cap and a stout shape. The smooth cap ranges in color from white, brown, to grey and has silk-like fibers that develop into tiny scales as the mushroom matures. The color of the cap can also transition into a yellow hue if the flesh is bruised. Under the cap, the gills begin as white, turn to pink, and then to brown with age and are compactly arranged, growing closely together. The cap connects to a truncated earthen white stem that is semi-thick, spongy, and crumbly in consistency. When young, the stem or stipe is dense, but as it ages, it becomes hollow. Blazei mushrooms have a unique almond, marzipan-like aroma, and a green, earthy, and nutty flavor.
Blazei mushrooms are available year-round.
Blazei mushrooms, botanically classified as Agaricus blazei Murrill, are an edible variety that is highly regarded for their medicinal properties in South America and Asia. Also known as Himematsutake, Royal Sun Agaricus, Mandelpilz, Almond Mushroom, and the Piedade mushroom, named after the town where it was first discovered in Brazil, Blazei mushrooms should not be confused with the species, Agaricus subrufescens, which is a variety it is often mistaken for. It is also commonly referred to as "AbM," for its scientific name and the scientist who named it. Today Blazei mushrooms are a popular topic in both western and traditional medicines and are sought out for both their medicinal properties and for culinary purposes. Considered to be one of the most important edible and culinary-medicinal mushroom species, Blazei mushrooms are being studied in Western medicine as an extract and are used in tea form in traditional medicine as a natural remedy to protect the immune system.
Blazei mushrooms contain significant amounts of beta-glucans, which are naturally occurring polysaccharides known to help support overall healthy immune function.
Blazei mushrooms can be used fresh, dried, or boiled. They can be consumed by themselves, mixed into green leafy salads, sprinkled into soups, tossed with other vegetables, or served over meat and seafood dishes. They can also be dried and reconstituted in stock to flavor broth or steeped in hot water to use as tea. The sweet almond-like flavor of Blazei mushrooms pairs well with mild, fresh cheeses, herbs, ginger, pumpkin, tofu, seabass, fillet, rice, and Asian greens. They will keep for a couple of days when stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator. It is not recommended to store in plastic as it will increase the rate of deterioration.
According to Brazilian legend, the Blazei mushroom is said to have health-sustaining properties. Those living near the mushroom’s city of origin, Piedade, Brazil, were said to be healthier and less likely to suffer from serious diseases than those who lived in neighboring towns. To the native people of this area, Blazei mushrooms are called Cogumelo da Vida and Cogumelo de Deus, which in Portuguese translates to the “mushroom of life” and the “mushroom of God.” The tradition of using the Blazei mushroom has been passed down from generation to generation in Piedad, and some remedies are still used today.
Blazei mushrooms are native to South America in Piedad, a small town in the mountain region near Sao Paolo, Brazil and have been used since ancient times. Blazei mushrooms were then brought into the public eye in Brazil by a Japanese scientist, Takatishi Furumoto in 1960, who took them to Japan with tales of its medicinal benefits. Since then, the Blazei mushroom has been cultivated on a small scale for medicinal use and has only recently made its appearance in the commercial markets. Today Blazei mushrooms can be found at local markets and specialty grocers predominately in Asia and South America, but they may also be found at select markets in Canada and the United States.
Recipes that include Blazei Mushrooms. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Woodland Foods||Balzei Mushroom and Brie Hand Pies|
|International Buddhist Society||Kombu and Agaricus Blazei (Brazilian Mushroom) Soup|
|Celestial Peach||Vegan Chinese Mushroom 'Risotto'|