How to Consume Mushrooms
Mushrooms are one of the healthiest foods that exist in the human diet. They are powerful superfoods, cancer fighters, inflammation fighters, and also have antioxidant properties that fight the negative effects of aging.
Whether you eat mushrooms regularly or have no idea what to do with them, they’re a versatile and simple food to add to your diet, even if you or someone you cook for thinks they’re gross. Add them to the right foods and you can easily mask their earthy flavor or chewy texture while still enhancing the flavor of your dish. These are some of the most common types of mushrooms in the human diet:
Cremini/White Button/Portobello (Different varieties of the same species)
Be sure to read our guide to the most common types of mushrooms for more information on their flavor and nutrition profiles.
How to Add Mushrooms to Your Diet
Mushrooms can be added to all kinds of recipes as a flavor enhancer, for added texture, and most importantly, for the added health benefits. Here are some ideas for next time you want to add mushrooms to your diet:
Sauteed Mushrooms – There are few things more delicious than fresh mushrooms sauteed in olive oil. These mushrooms, with a little salt to finish, can be added to all sorts of dishes. Kick things up a notch and sautee them with some onions and peppers. For an even richer flavor, add some balsamic or red wine toward the end of cooking. Sauteed mushrooms can be used in all sorts of ways:
Top your grilled chicken or steak
Fill up a baked potato
On top of veggie nachos
Add them to an omelet
Add them to homemade pizza
Make a mushroom grilled cheese sandwich
Add to soup or chili
Sauteed mushrooms are usually cooked at a high heat, which grills the edges a bit.
For an even sweeter option, mushrooms can also be caramelized.
Caramelized Mushrooms – Caramelized mushrooms are cooked low and slow, usually with lots of butter and onions. The slower cooking time allows the mushrooms to simmer in the butter, which slowly browns as it caramelizes the sugar in the mushrooms for a decadent, sweet flavor. Caramelized mushrooms are commonly made as a steak topping, but would also be delicious in any of the previously mentioned foods.
Roasted Mushrooms –Mushrooms that are roasted in the oven will have a chewier texture than sauteed mushrooms, but they can be used in just as many ways. If you have a “roast” setting on your oven, you can use this to create very crispy, bacon-like mushrooms using a little oil, salt, pepper, and paprika.
Ultimately, it depends if you prefer the effects of a sautee or an oven-baked style, which will probably depend on the type of recipe you’re making. Roasted mushrooms make a great side dish or snack on their own!
Dried Mushrooms –Dried mushrooms are mushrooms that have been baked at a low and slow temperature to remove moisture while retaining flavor. These mushrooms can be eaten as crispy snacks or cooked directly into a dish. Shiitake mushrooms are some of the most delicious, and thus most popular, dried mushrooms. They’re pretty common at most grocery stores and make a great addition to stir fry and soups.
Avoid Raw Mushrooms
There is a lot of back and forth in the diet and wellness world about whether mushrooms are safe to eat raw. Surely you’ve seen sliced raw mushrooms at a salad bar, and being that they’re packed with nutritional benefits, you’d assume they’re fine to eat in their most natural state.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, raw mushrooms contain a compound called chitin, which makes up their tough cell walls. Chitin is also found in the shells of anthropods like lobsters and is virtually impossible for the body to digest properly. Although mushrooms are not nearly as tough as the exoskeleton of a lobster, the human body still has a hard time processing chitin, which can be broken down by cooking your mushrooms before eating them.
Raw mushrooms also contain small amounts of toxins, some of which are known carcinogens. These toxins can also be cooked off by thoroughly heating them before eating.
Truth be told, the full flavor of mushrooms comes out the most when they’re cooked, so eating mushrooms raw is a missed opportunity to enjoy some of the richest flavors.
How to Consume Psychedelic Mushrooms
Psychedelic mushrooms – specifically mushrooms containing the compounds psilocybin, psilocin, and possibly baeocystin and other psychologically-active compounds – have been used for centuries as a way to alter the mind, expand consciousness, and alter perceptions.
In this post, we delve into many methods that have been suggested for taking psilocybin mushrooms in order to expand your mind.
Before we get started, it’s important to address the safety of taking psychedelic mushrooms. There are several important aspects you must consider.
Psychedelic Mushroom Safety
Many psilocybin-containing mushrooms fall in the genus Psilocybe, and many of these mushrooms are not poisonous. However, there are other mushrooms that look very similar to common psychedelic mushrooms. So, it is always best to follow these safety tips before popping a mushroom into your mouth.
#1 Consider Your Personal Health
It may seem strange to consult your doctor before taking psychedelics, but this is highly recommended. Your doctor can inform you if you have any health predispositions that may increase your risk for a negative or unhealthy reaction.
#2 Know Your Mushrooms
Before you start taking any mushrooms – even ones that are simply edible and not psychedelic – learn how to identify mushrooms.
One great resource for this is Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World by renowned expert and trained mycologist – Paul Stamets. This book lays out how to find, identify, and dose many different species of psilocybin mushrooms, and it is an excellent resource.
#3 Set and Setting
This is a ‘cardinal rule’ for taking psychedelic mushrooms. In order to have the best experience possible, it is important to consider both your mindset (set) and the environment (setting) before you take any amount of psilocybin.
Specifically, you need to have an open mind, be ready to confront and address mental stressors, and be ready to ‘lean-in’ to the entire experience. Taking mushrooms in a calm natural environment or a comfortable room with pleasant music can help ensure you don’t have a ‘bad trip’.
Consuming Psychedelic Mushrooms
Psychedelic psilocybin mushrooms are consumed just like any other food, but there are some tried and true methods you can use that will help make the experience a positive one.
Psychedelic shrooms are traditionally consumed raw or dried, but unlike mushrooms used in culinary applications, their flavor is notoriously unpleasant. Some people have a hard time even swallowing them because of their taste. Fortunately, there are several ways to maximize your effects while masking the flavor.
Before you get your shrooms ready to eat, be sure to check out our effects page to determine your ideal dose and know exactly what to expect. You might feel a little nauseous in the first hour after your dose, so keep that in mind when choosing how to eat them.
Shroom tea is your best bet if you’re worried about nausea. Drinking them in tea form will also cause you to feel the effects quicker, and the trip will be a bit shorter than if you ate them fresh. It’s easier to extract the psilocybin this way when you’re using dried shrooms as opposed to fresh, much like the dried herbs in a regular tea packet.
To make mushroom tea, boil 1 cup of water for every gram of dried mushrooms. Once it’s reached a rolling boil, pour it over your chopped or ground mushrooms (the smaller the pieces, the more quickly the psilocybin will be extracted).
Cover and let it steep for about 60 minutes, or until the pieces have sunk to the bottom of your cup.
Once you’re ready to drink up, strain the mushroom pieces (or leave them in if you prefer, although most of the psilocybin will be in the water), add some sugar, honey, lemon, or a teabag, and wait to feel the effects. Start with a small dose, then add more later if you feel you need it.
This is another great way to mask the bitter taste of shrooms and can be made with any combination of fruits and veggies.
First, crush up your dried mushrooms. Blend up your favorite smoothie recipe, then add the crushed shrooms and pulse a couple of times to mix everything together.
You can also mask the taste by adding your shroom pieces to a bottle of juice, shaking it up, and drinking the mixture that way.
Liquids are digested more quickly than solid foods, which is why the trip tends to come up and come down faster with tea or a smoothie. If you’d rather have them with a small meal, one of the most common methods is to chop up your shrooms (fresh or dried will work fine) and put them on peanut butter toast. The effects will likely last longer this way, and getting some carbs into your stomach will help curb nausea.
Eat Your Shrooms Whole
If you can handle the taste, just pop your shrooms in your mouth, chew them well to promote easier digestion, and chase it with your favorite (non-alcoholic) beverage. Be sure to consult our Effects page to ensure that you are not taking too much.
The dosage depends entirely on the species that you are consuming, so be sure you understand the different levels of psilocybin in the various types of mushrooms. Paul Stamets recommends a dosage of 1-2 grams of mushrooms, dried. Be sure to weigh this out – it is fewer mushrooms than you think!
Fresh vs Dried Psychedelic Mushrooms
Psilocybin shrooms can be eaten either fresh or dried. However, dried is far more common than fresh. Fresh psilocybin mushrooms often have a slimy texture, potent odor, and are much harder to get down than the same mushroom dried for a few hours.
Plus, dried mushrooms store longer, have comparable psilocybin levels, and are easily crushed up. They can even be powdered and added to pill capsules if you want to completely avoid the taste!