By Katie Hurley
During the summer, most of us do our best to take advantage of the locally grown bounty that Thurston County summers offer. But one locally grown product stands out for its year-round availability and many other compelling reasons. I’m talking about mushrooms.
Locally grown Ostrom’s Mushrooms, available at Ralph’s and Bayview Thrifway stores, will be featured at the Hawks Prairie Rotary’s Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival on July 26 and 27. Ostrom’s will be providing all of the mushrooms for the culinary demonstrations as well as the Shroom Feast which features samples of mushroom specialties from local chefs and restaurants. $10 buys you seven tastes and the opportunity to vote for your favorite dish.
Ostrom’s will also have a booth with an actual mushroom tray, demonstrating how mushrooms are grown. The local company will be distributing recipes, samples and promotional merchandise.
The benefits of eating Ostrom’s mushrooms are bountiful. They’re grown locally and sustainably, and packaged in petroleum-free packaging. And they are loaded with vitamin D, B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and are a low calorie, fat-free food.
Matt Tremblay, Ostrom’s Retail Sales Coordinator, recommends cutting one-third to one-half of your regular meat portion and replacing it with mushrooms. Ground mushrooms can replace some of the meat in tacos or burritos, stir-fries, soups, stews and burger patties.
There are countless opportunities to incorporate mushrooms into your summer meal plans. Take burgers, for example. Here are four different ways to take advantage of the nutritional benefits of mushrooms while enjoying the flavors mushrooms add to your meal.
“Portabellas are popular this time of year, during grilling season,” says Tremblay. “They make a good meat substitute.” Whole portabella mushroom caps can be brushed with seasoned olive oil and grilled just like a meat patty for a satisfying vegetarian burger. As an added bonus, the upside-down mushroom has a big pocket to hold burger toppings like homemade pico de gallo, roasted tomatoes and crumbled goat cheese, or caramelized onions and grated Swiss cheese. This Grilled Portabella Burger with Fontina and Basil is a great way to use that basil growing plentifully in the garden.
Finely chopped mushrooms, sautéed with garlic, herbs and olive oil, can then be formed into a patty and baked to make a moist, flavorful burger. This Mushroom Burger recipe also incorporates grated carrots and fresh parsley, which are summer garden favorites.
Meaty Mushroom Burgers
Combining finely chopped mushrooms and lean ground beef, bison, chicken or turkey makes a patty that is juicy and delicious, with fewer calories and less fat than a traditional beef patty. This recipe for Turkey-Mushroom Burgers with Scallion-Lemon Mayonnaise fits the bill if you’re looking for a meaty burger with less meat.
Sauteed Mushroom Burger
Sliced mushrooms, sautéed with a little butter, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper make a luscious burger topper, and a slice of melted Swiss or Havarti cheese on top of the mushrooms is the perfect finishing touch. For a flavorful seasonal addition, caramelize thin slices of Walla Walla sweet onions and then combine them with the sautéed mushrooms.
Locally-owned Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway stores sell Ostrom’s sliced and whole white mushrooms as well as portabella, crimini, oyster and shiitake mushrooms throughout the year. Stop by the produce department and pick up some mushrooms for your summer meals. And don’t miss the Mushroom Festival on July 26 and 27.