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Discovering Umami with Mushrooms

Umami, derived from a Japanese word meaning “delicious”, is a term used to describe “fifth taste”. Savory, meaty, and rich, umami is appreciated for the unique boost of flavor it brings to the palate. While it can be found in many different ingredients including green tea and bone broth, mushrooms are most recognized for their high level of umami. Fresh or dried, mushrooms are loved for the burst of umami they bring to any dish, as well as their many health benefits. Advanced Biotech takes a look at these autumnal fungi and explores the many ways consumers can expect to see them this season.

 

Meat Replacements

 

            A staple in most vegetarian and vegan diets, mushrooms are well-liked for their distinctly meaty taste and texture. Fresh mushrooms can be used as a meat substitute in everything from burgers to meat balls, and dried mushrooms are a popular ingredient in broths and, when powdered, can even be used as a seasoning. The possibilities are as endless as the umami, and we at ABT predict that meat lovers and meat-less consumers alike will continue to incorporate mushrooms into their everyday diets.

  

Teas and Tonics

 

            Brews made from mushrooms have been surging in popularity and can be found in the form of teas, coffees, and even hot chocolate! Ancient Greek, Roman, and Chinese tea drinkers realized the health benefits tucked away in these strange looking fungi centuries ago, where fresh mushrooms were picked, dried, and ground into small pieces using a hand grinder to later be stepped in water and made into tea. The short-form version of this ancient elixir is now a popular wellness trend, and powdered reisihi mushrooms are a popular addition not only to tea but to lattes, matcha, and more!

 

Planet Friendly

 

            As environmentally friendly as they are flavor-packed, mushrooms have been named by researchers as one of the most sustainable foods produced in the US. Environmentally-conscious consumers will be happy to know that producing one pound of mushrooms requires only 1.8 gallons of water, 1.0 kWh of electricity, and generates only 0.7 lbs of carbon dioxide. Because mushrooms are grown in beds of composted agricultural materials, that material is recycled into potting soil after harvesting.

 

All of these factors make mushrooms a great choice for all different types of food lovers, and are well-worth the place in your pantry!