Many people have asked me, “Can you eat raw mushrooms or do they need to be cooked?” I prefer cooked mushrooms, and here’s why
First off, I don’t really understand why they have raw mushrooms at salad bars. It’s a strange concept to me. I’ve never personally enjoyed them this way, and ultimately, mushrooms shouldn’t be eaten raw. Mushrooms contain a compound known as chitin.
Chitin is very hard—it’s found in lobster and mollusk shells— and 90% of people can’t break chitin down from a digestion standpoint. So when you’re eating raw mushrooms you are not accessing any of the nutritional or medicinal benefits that those mushrooms have to offer because of the inability to get beyond the chitin walls.
Some people think that raw mushrooms taste good and others do not. I’ve heard many people talk about the common button mushroom and its taste resembling that of cardboard.
In the video I lined up a bunch of choice edible mushrooms that typically taste much better than the standard button mushroom when cooked. However, none of these mushrooms as good raw as they are cooked.
Can you eat raw mushrooms? Taking a bite of lion’s mane, shiitake, and yellow oyster
Lion’s mane has compounds in it that nourish the brain and the stomach. I take a bite of it raw in the video, and these beneficial qualities will be missed.
Shiitakes are a bit tastier raw than many of the other mushrooms. They contain a slight vanilla taste when raw. I could see it being tasty if added to a salad with some dressing or a marinade.
The yellow oyster reminds of a cucumber with a little zest. It’s decent, but again, much better cooked and as I mentioned, the healthful properties of these tasty mushrooms will be lost in the process of eating it raw because of the chitin walls locking it in.
Can you eat raw mushroom? Some mushrooms you can’t even bite through while they’re raw
You will have a hard time trying to take a bite out of a reishi mushroom while it is raw. It is a very woody mushroom. Mushrooms like these need to be broken down within an extraction process in order to get its healthful benefits. People make reishi tea or tincture to do this, and have been doing so for thousands of years.
Can you eat raw mushrooms? A special note on poisonous mushrooms
It’s important to note that if you eat a poisonous mushroom raw it can still kill you because there are certain compounds that can make it through the chitin walls and these involve toxic compounds found in poisonous mushrooms, so beware.
Overall my recommendation is to always cook your mushrooms. That will lead to the greatest benefit for you in terms of tasty and healthful properties. You will likely enjoy them much better cooked as well.
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