As a functional food, the use of mushroom powder is really catching on. By virtue of their bioactive ingredients, functional mushroom products boast many benefits for health and wellness.‡ Though you may be excited to try the superfood benefits of this popular trend, you may also be a little apprehensive about the taste. Can something that is so good for you also taste good?
Mushrooms are a humble food, often found growing in dark, damp forests. Though they do not possess the vibrant colors or bright flavors of the fruit and vegetable rainbow, they are similarly endowed with antioxidants and other key nutrients. With a texture often described as being “meaty,” some mushrooms are actually substituted for meat in recipes or grilled and served on a bun.
Many people enjoy the taste of traditional culinary mushrooms, and they are used around the world in a variety of different cuisines. From the common and readily available button mushroom to the pricey white truffle, culinary mushrooms enhance our treasured recipes. But most functional mushroom species are different from the culinary varieties that we cook with, and they are typically used in a powdered form. So what does mushroom powder taste like, and how can you use it? Here are a few suggestions.
Mushroom Powder as a Flavor Enhancer
Many people use mushroom powder as a seasoning or flavor enhancer. Why does it work so well? Mushrooms impart umami, “savory deliciousness” in Japanese. As the fifth flavor element, in addition to sweet, salty, sour, and bitter, it hits specific flavor receptors on the tongue. Mushrooms’ umami comes from glutamate, an amino acid building block of protein. It is also found in steak, cured meats, fish, cheeses, and some vegetables, including peas, asparagus, broccoli, and tomatoes.
As a flavor enhancer, mushroom powder contributes a subtle, earthy taste that rounds out the flavor in many dishes. It adds complexity without increasing saltiness since mushrooms and mushroom powder are low sodium food products. It gives food added dimension when used as a finishing seasoning on roasted meats, fish, poultry, and vegetables.
Shiitake is one type of mushroom powder that is often used to impart umami. As a flavor booster, it adds depth to sauces and chilis. It can bump up the nutrition without increasing the caloric content when mixed into meatballs and burgers. Similar to the intense flavor enhancement of monosodium glutamate, but without the chance of negative reaction some people experience with MSG, mushroom powders can be very delicious.
What Does Mushroom Powder Taste Like and How Should I Use It?
Om Mushrooms offers several mushroom powder blends that double as a culinary ingredient and a superfood supplement. You can try them simply stirred into a drink or use them in a variety of meal preparations. Each one provides protein and complex carbohydrates. They also provide B vitamins, minerals, and prebiotic fiber. Beyond their common components, functional mushrooms contain bioactive substances, some of which may be unique to their species.
Which one you choose will depend on your health and wellness goals. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Mushroom Powder in Hot Drinks
The slight bitterness of some functional mushroom powders has been compared to the bitter edge of coffee or chocolate. For this reason, mushroom powder seems to work exceptionally well in coffee and cocoa drinks.
- Lion’s mane is a mild mushroom powder that is milled quite fine and has a light consistency similar to powdered sugar. A spoon, whisk, or small frother can mix it quickly and evenly into your coffee or hot cocoa. (Note: Residue may be left behind after mixing as Om’s mushroom powders contain the mycelium but these prebiotic dietary fibers should also be consumed.) Starting the day with lion’s mane mushroom powder supports focus and alertness.‡ Regular use of just a teaspoon (2g) of Om Lion’s Mane Organic Mushroom Powder each day may support a healthy nervous system and a steady mood.‡
- Chaga is a birch tree fungus native to the boreal forests of the Northern hemisphere—including Scandinavia, Siberia, Alaska, and Canada. Its slightly sweet, earthy, vanilla-scented flavor made it useful as a coffee substitute in Finland during World War II when coffee and sugar were scarce. Chaga is an antioxidant-rich food that may help to counteract oxidative tissue damage as we age. Starting your day with a teaspoonful of Om Chaga Organic Mushroom Powder is a great way to up the antioxidant power of your morning coffee.
Alternatively, you may wish to try convenient, single-serving packets of mushroom powder hot drink mixes with pre-measured ingredients. These can be conveniently carried to stir into hot water, creating a comforting, instant beverage on the go.
Mushroom Powder in Broths
The stronger-flavored mushroom powders provide an ideal base for a mushroom broth. By adding flavoring elements, you can complement the taste of the particular mushroom species or blend.
- Reishi has been described as having an earthy and somewhat bitter taste. To get the stress balancing power of this adaptogenic mushroom in a delicious broth, start with your favorite beef, chicken, or vegetable broth, bouillon, or bone broth. Add in aromatics (pressed garlic, minced ginger, sliced scallions, and/or chili peppers). Bump up the umami with a bit of soy or fish sauce, then stir in one teaspoon of Om Reishi Organic Mushroom Powder per cup of broth. Simmer for a few minutes, squeeze in a bit of lime juice, then enjoy the warm, flavorful broth.
- Cordyceps is a mushroom that supports exercise endurance and muscle recovery.‡ It has a somewhat stronger flavor than some of the other functional mushrooms and can be used to create a delicious broth. Try sauteing finely chopped vegetables (celery, onion, carrot, leek, and/or garlic) in olive oil. Add in water or broth and your favorite seasonings and herbs (parsley, dill, etc.). Simmer until vegetables are tender, then stir in a teaspoon of Om Cordyceps Organic Mushroom Powder for each cup of liquid added.
- Though turkey tail mushrooms are not often used in cooking due to their tough, leathery texture, they are prized for their ability to support a strong and healthy immune system.‡ For this reason, a dehydrated and milled powder like Om Turkey Tail Organic Mushroom Powder is an accessible way to put its powerful immune system activators to work for you. By creating a warm broth or comforting turkey tail tea, you will find this exceptional source of beta-glucans and other polysaccharides quite palatable.
For a quick cup of comforting mushroom broth that requires no chopping, measuring, or cooking, try Om Mushroom Supplement Mighty Broths. Conveniently measured into single-serve packets, Om’s broths already contain herbs, spices, and flavoring elements to enhance the taste of the blend of 3-6 mushroom species.
Mushroom Powder as a Versatile Ingredient
Since mushroom powder qualifies as both a culinary ingredient and a functional dietary supplement, why not put its power to work in your kitchen? An all-purpose blend like Om Master Blend Organic Mushroom Powder gives you the nutrition and superfood benefits of 10 mushroom species plus three botanical adaptogens. Its complex taste may be best appreciated in a mushroom broth or when used creatively in your cooking.
- Round out the flavor and consistency of a gravy or pot of soup by adding a teaspoon for each serving of your favorite mushroom powder
- Added to scrambled eggs with sauteed vegetables like shallots or scallions
- Add kosher salt, freshly cracked pepper, and desired spices to a dry rub that can be used on steak, chicken, or fish
- Add a couple of teaspoons to panko breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and finely chopped parsley to create a savory topping for casseroles or mac-and-cheese
Choose your single-species mushroom powder or blend for its superfood support profile and bump up the nutrition and functional food properties in your food while adding flavor.
Mushroom Powder in Capsules
If you are determined to acquire the superfood benefits of functional mushrooms but are sensitive to or apprehensive of the taste, mushroom powder capsules are your solution. Om Mushrooms offers most of our single-species powders and some of our multi-mushroom blends in capsule form. By consuming three to four each day, you get a full serving of functional mushroom powder without having to worry about the taste.
Reaping the Benefits of Functional Mushroom Powder
As a functional food, mushroom powders offer benefits beyond simple nutrition. They support a variety of body functions and promote physical and mental balance.‡ Because they are adaptogenic, functional mushrooms are most effective when they are taken every day.‡ For this reason, it may be preferable to add a teaspoonful of your chosen single-species powder or multi-mushroom blend to your diet as part of your daily health routine.
As an alternative to adding it to your morning coffee or your evening cup of tea, you may start the day with a nutritious smoothie or follow your workout with an electrolyte and protein drink. Both of these beverages provide a good opportunity to blend in a stronger tasting mushroom powder since the flavor will be mellowed by the other ingredients.
When you try superfood mushroom powders in your recipes, you will undoubtedly grow to appreciate not only their health benefits but also the earthy taste of these accessible mushroom powders, blends, and supplements. Soon, you will likely develop your own ideas for making functional mushrooms a delicious part of your daily routine.
If you are wondering what mushroom powder tastes like, Om Mushroom offers a variety of products to get you started. From single-species mushroom powders like the mild-flavored lion’s mane to the bolder, earthy taste of our Master Blend, our functional, organic products have health-promoting benefits. If you’re looking to take advantage of the benefits of functional mushroom products, shop now or subscribe to save!
‡These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Functional mushroom products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.