USUALLY when we brown our mushrooms, it's not in the sun. But letting them get a natural tan could help boost our immune systems.
Dietitian and mushroom researcher, Glenn Cardwell, says it is a little-known fact that mushrooms can be an excellent source of vitamin D, if they have been pre-exposed to sun-light.
"Mushrooms have been used for medicinal reasons since ancient times, and as fungi, not a vegetable, they truly are fascinating. It is a little-known fact that mushrooms can easily help to combat vitamin D deficiencies, if we 'tan' them before we eat them."
As Mr Cardwell explains, the process of 'tanning' mushrooms, by exposing them to the sun's ultra-violet light, doesn't change the texture, colour or flavour of the mushroom, it simply boosts their vitamin D levels.
"Most Australians know that we can get vitamin D from the sun via our skin, however mushrooms can create vitamin D through a similar, natural process. By placing our store-bought mushrooms in the midday sun for around 15-minutes, they naturally multiply in vitamin D," he said.
"Just three medium-sized, sun-tanned mushrooms can provide 100 per cent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D."
"Tanning our mushrooms is a simple and natural way, to boost our vitamin D consumption from our diet," he said.
Prolonged vitamin D deficiency attributes to osteoporosis and makes us more susceptible to infections and chronic disease.
Those who spend most time in doors (office workers, the elderly or those hospitalised), are the most at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Mushroom, leek and pea risotto
Serves 4, cooking time: 35 minutes
- 200 g Swiss Brown mushrooms, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 shallots, thinly diced
- 1 medium leek, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 4 cups good quality chicken stock
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup pecorino cheese, grated
- Pinch fresh cracked pepper
- 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley, to serve
- Extra freshly grated pecorino cheese, to serve
Add the chicken stock to a medium size pan and place it on medium heat to warm up.
Sauté the minced garlic and finally diced shallots with a drizzle of olive oil in a large heavy base pan with high sides on medium heat. Sauté until the shallots start to become transparent.
Add the thinly sliced leek and stir through, once the leeks have sweated down add the sliced mushrooms and cook for a further 3-5 minutes.
Pour in the white wine and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half.
Add the arborio rice and stir through. Pour in the warm chicken stock a ladle at a time, stirring in between until all the stock has been completely absorbed or once the rice is al dente.
Add the peas and stir through.Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated pecorino cheese and a good pinch of freshly cracked pepper.
Serve by dividing between 4 bowls, topping with an extra sprinkle of pecorino cheese and chopped parsley.
More recipes at Australian Mushrooms.