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If you’re looking to grow mushrooms, you have quite a task ahead of you. The mushroom growing process is notoriously difficult. You’ll learn new terms like mycelium, hyphae, and gills. You’ll also need several products like mushroom grow kits and bulk substrate. Regardless, it’s a delicate process, and you need all the help you can get.

Rather than overload you with a ton of terms, the first step is learning what kind of mushroom you want to grow. Some are easier to grow than others. First, we’ll break down the two primary kinds of mushrooms: edible and medicinal, and what they might mean for you. Afterward, we’ll break down the top five mushrooms you can try growing at home that are ideal for your needs. Settle in. It’s going to be a wild ride.

What are Medicinal Mushrooms?

While both kinds of mushrooms are good for you and offer you a ton of protein, medicinal mushrooms have many health benefits similar to the typical edible mushroom. They’re typically taken in pill form because the taste is considered too “earthy” and “heavy” for edible consumption. Mushrooms live in a world rife with competition. They need to outgrow and out-compete the molds and other fungi that need the same food sources they do. Additionally, they must stave off the scourge of pests and bacteria that want to eat them.

Many of the compounds they produce aren’t harmful to humans; in fact, many act as natural antibiotics upon consumption. Medicinal mushrooms produce tons of minerals and vitamins that you’d typically get from vegetables and fruit. For instance, they produce vitamins B and D. Taking medicinal mushroom supplements is a great way for vegetarians to add nutrition to their diet. Mushrooms have an incredible amount of energy density. This means they have fewer calories but offer you the same nutrition as meat and grains.

Medicinal mushrooms are also high in antioxidants, which decrease oxidative stress and cell and DNA damage. Porcini mushrooms, for instance, have the highest number of antioxidants in the mushroom kingdom.

They also stimulate the immune system and give various health benefits related to healing asthma, allergies, and even chronic fatigue.

What are Edible Mushrooms?

Edible mushrooms have many of the same benefits. However, you eat them as is rather than ingest them in pill form. This isn’t to say that you can’t eat medicinal mushrooms. However, their taste is generally so bitter that it’s unpleasant. People typically don’t want to taste them since they are so overpowering.

Edible mushrooms are more versatile; you can use them for any dish. Whether you grill some Portobellos for burgers or incorporate some Oyster mushrooms into your salads, you can bet you’ll get all the same benefits with a much better taste.

Here are a few preparation tips:

  • If you go foraging, take a map with mushroom locations and an experienced guide. You’ll want a second set of more experienced eyes than your own because some mushrooms are poisonous.
  • Whether you buy your mushrooms at the store or forage for them, thoroughly wash them before eating.

If you don’t take these necessary precautions, you could accidentally make yourself sick.

Which is Better?

Why not choose both? Take your medicinal mushrooms in capsule form and eat edible mushrooms with your favorite foods to double the benefits. Some medicinal mushrooms come in powder form, so you can add them to your favorite shakes and other beverages. The possibilities are truly endless.

On the edible front, mushrooms go with virtually anything. You can eat them alone, in salads, or with a steak. They’re incredibly versatile, so don’t be afraid to experiment!

Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms are a classic form of mushroom and are known for their nutritional value. They help promote a healthy immune system and heart health. They’re perfect for people with diabetes—consult your doctor before consumption—because they encourage healthy blood sugar control. They provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects. Most people, and several Japanese and Chinese dishes, incorporate them in omelets, stews, and pasta. You can even eat them raw, and they add an excellent and nutritious garnish to salads. Sautee, stir-fry, or grill them. You’ll be happy you did.

Reishi Mushrooms

Reishi mushrooms are a popular choice in the East. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) applications use them regularly, and for a good reason. Reishi boasts many health benefits, including fighting cancer and boosting immune support. In some cases, they help mitigate inflammation, and there are some indications they can affect white blood cell genes. They can also increase “natural killer cells” in the body. These cells are a type of white blood cell that fight infections and cancer.

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

The shaggy Lion’s mane is on our list of the top five mushrooms you should grow at home for a reason. It can protect against mild symptoms of depression and anxiety and against dementia, giving hope to older individuals with these issues. Like many mushrooms, it provides antioxidants and lowers the risk of heart disease.

Shiitake Mushrooms

The nutrition profile of shitake mushrooms is illustrious. They’re well known for their savory taste and variety of health benefits. The mushroom compounds support heart health and the immune system. They contain protein, B5 vitamins, Zinc, B6 vitamins, and many other compounds that improve various bodily functions. They’re low in calories but give you an unmistakable boost in energy.

Wine Cap Mushrooms

Wine cap mushrooms have a few health benefits. They’re native to European countries as well as North America. Its easy cultivation makes it popular for beginners. The wine cap is not typically considered “medicinal” but has a great nutritional profile. It’s mostly fiber and water, but there is some promising evidence that its use far exceeds culinary delight. Sometimes, wine cap mushrooms can decrease blood sugar and lower cholesterol overall.

There are a ton of benefits associated with all the mushrooms mentioned above. Are you ready to grow some mushrooms? At Midwest Organics, we can help. We make the mushroom growing process quick and easy, and we’d be happy to help you on the next leg of your mushroom cultivation journey. Shop Midwest Organics today!

5 Best Mushrooms To Try Growing at Home this Year
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