Mushrooms are simply described as that fleshy, spore bearing part of a fungus which is produced above the soil or on its food source.

In recent times, it is believed that consumption of raw vegetables is better than cooked ones because uncooked vegetables contains more nutrients than the cooked ones. This could be true to some but not all ask in the case of a mushroom. Here are basic reasons why we should heat mushrooms before consumption.

Reasons why we should cook our mushrooms before eating them

  • To avoid indigestion –

    One of the reasons why we eat food is to quench our hunger and also acquire the necessary nutrients contained in such food when it is completely digested for body’s activity. Mushrooms have a very thick wall which is not easily digested when taken raw. This could lead to tummy ache or a more serious intestinal discomfort when taken raw. The cell wall of mushrooms consists of “chitins”, a polysaccharide which makes up the exo skeletal part of insects and crabs. Chitin’s only be made digestible through heating. A type of mushroom called the “Shiitake” if not cooked will pass through the body’s digestive tract undigested. In order to avoid such, a little heat to mushroom is advisable not only to avert harmful effect to the body’s but to also help release so many beneficial nutrients such as proteins, vitamin B and minerals trapped inside the cell to the body when consumed.

  • For an improved flavor –

    The flavor of every meal naturally stimulates one’s appetite. If a mushroom is sautéed in butter until golden brown and finished with a little wine, it has a very fine appearance and tastes good than an uncooked mushroom. Even half cooked mushrooms will have rubbery texture which can turn of the most adventurous eater.

  • To avoid intake of Hydrazine and other compounds –

    Hydrazine is a toxic compound which is present in some of the mushrooms including the white button. Hydrazine is an ammonia like liquid compound which is easily volatized with a thorough sauté. Although, the volume of hydrazine in mushroom has not been scientifically proven except for the mushroom called “false morel” which is said to have large amount of the hydrazine gyromtin. When false morsels are eaten raw, it literally gives us an insight to the effect of toxic compounds in the human body. Although most people are more sensitive to hydrazine, while others experience no effect from intake of false morsels, others becomes very sick which could even lead to death. Symptoms such as gastrointestinal and neurological are commonly seen after the intake of hydrazine infected mushrooms within a period of 6-12 hours. It is also believed that the higher the intake of these mushrooms will lead to an increased risk of illness. Eating of undercooked shiitake mushroom also causes skin rashes although in rare cases. This is an allergic reaction rather than a toxic reaction. Ensure that you cook your mushrooms well before consumption in order to avoid accumulating these compounds in your body system but in a case where you prefer raw mushrooms to cooked ones, it is advised to take a little of the raw mushroom first, with for some hours for possible reactions and if no reaction occurs, you can then eat your raw mushrooms but cooked mushrooms are still the best.

  • To prevent fungal infection –

    Fungi are ubiquitous organism ( they are found every where). This implies that a fungus can also be found on mushrooms. Most of these fungi are soil inhabitants. They infect through wounds. Fungi could be more aggressive and difficult to cure. Fungi potentially causes harm to a damaged immune system. Due to the ubiquitous nature of fungi, it is generally advised to cook all our food not only applicable to mushrooms be we eat them. Consumption of raw mushrooms would easily give fungi an access to the human’s body thereby causing fungi infections. People with serious health issues such as diabetes, those who have undergone an organic transplant before, those treated for cancer, or AIDS, will easily inactivate live mushroom tissues by thoroughly cooking them. Pickled mushrooms are prone to botulism ( a serious illness caused by food, or contact with contaminated soil) but when done properly, it is generally safe.

  • To increase antioxidant –

    Boiling of mushroom increases the production of antioxidant to the body and beneficial minerals such as carotenoids, and fenilic acid, than when it their raw state. Boiling is the ideal method of cooking vegetables in order to maintain their antioxidant. Boiling also removes most vitamin C content in mushroom. This is because vitamin c is unstable and it is readily destroyed through exposure to heat of boiling water. Boiling of mushroom also help in breaking down their fiber and also release mineral for absorption. However, do not over mushrooms as this is a no – no as vital minerals and miners are lost. Boiling of mushrooms also lowers the water content 1%.


How to carefully prepare mushroom for safe consumption

  • Washing the mushroom –

    Mushrooms should be carefully and thoroughly was he in order to remove any trace of organism growing on it or contamination.

  • Use of Butter –

    The use of butter in cooking mushrooms improves the flavor of most mushroom. Lemon juice could also be used because it retains the color of mushrooms when cooked. It also adds an extra zest to their flavor.

  • Steaming of Mushroom –

    A little per boiling of mushroom is a sure and best way to prepare mushroom for safe consumption. This brings out the true taste of mushroom instead of seasoning and oil.

  • Salting –

    Salting is also a good practice because it reduces the bacteria contained in a mushroom. Salting also adds taste to mushroom.

  • Using dried mushroom –

    Carefully rinse the mushroom and place in a bowl containing warm water. Allow it to soak for about 15-20 minutes. Remove it, rinse, drain, squeeze and dry pat.

  • Slicing mushroom –

    This allows mushroom to be cooked quicker. It also helps it to be well penetrated.


It is of beneficial importance to ensure that we carefully prepare mushroom, cook them properly in order to avoid health threatening diseases or death in most cases.