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Shiitakes – Shrooms That Pack a Punch

While they won’t take you on a trip without leaving home, shiitake mushrooms have their own special kind of magic. Prized for their rich, savory taste, shiitakes are under-recognized for their diverse health benefits. You might not know that mushrooms are the only natural plant source of vitamin D. Our bodies need vitamin D to build strong bones, but surprisingly, very few foods contain it. Shiitakes deliver vitamin D and more. Low in calories while high in fiber and other important vitamins and minerals, this lowly fungi has been highly favored and coveted since ancient times.

Origins

First cultivated in China between 1000 and 1100 A.D., the shiitake is revered in Asia for its culinary and reputed medicinal qualities. For thousands of years, those looking to boost longevity and reduce inflammation coveted the magic morsels. In Chinese culture, the shiitake mushroom, known for its aphrodisiac qualities, is a symbol of youthfulness and virility. And in ancient days, to cultivate shiitake mushrooms, a tree log was inoculated with collected shitiake spores and left out in a moist atmosphere. Logs inoculated during a child’s birth would mature with him until he attained manhood, when he would inherit the mushroomed logs. A prized possession, people often went to the extent of stealing them from one another, leading to what was known as a shiitake war.

Today, shiitakes are primarily grown in Japan and are loved worldwide for their superb taste.  While typically eaten like vegetables, shiitake are fungi that grow naturally on decaying hardwood trees. The name shiitake is taken directly from its Japanese name, and the mushroom is also known as the black mushroom or oakwood mushroom.  High in iron and packing a smoky flavor, shiitakes are one of the most popular mushrooms worldwide. Because of the shiitake’s significance in Asian culture and cuisine, immigrants transported spores from their homelands to grow mushrooms in their adopted countries.

Health Benefits

Compounds in shiitake may help fight cancer, boost immunity, and support heart health. What makes them so effective is that they are an excellent source of B vitamins, minerals like magnesium and selenium, and fiber. In addition, shiitakes have antiviral and antibacterial properties. Several compounds in shiitake help lower cholesterol and may reduce your risk of heart disease. A study published in the Journal of Obesity concluded that shiitake could help reduce and prevent weight gain and fat build-up, and other studies have shown that shiitake can improve cell function, gut immunity, and reduce inflammation.

Rich, Savory Flavor

You can cook with both fresh and dried shiitake, although dried is the most popular. This may be because shiitakes have an umami flavor that’s even more intense when dried.  An umami flavor, best described as savory or meaty, is often considered the fifth sense of taste, next to sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Both dried and fresh shiitake mushrooms are used in stir-fries, soups, stews, and other dishes.

Here at Popadelics™, we decided to take the magic one step further and create a shiitake trip for your taste buds. We call our creation Popadelics™ Crunchy Mushroom Chips. Loaded with flavor, vegan and a good source of protein and fiber, our mushrooms offer zero bad trips, just good mood food and are mushrooms re-imagined. Twisted Thai Chili, Rad Rosemary & Salt, and Trippin’ Truffle Parm Popadelics™ Crunchy Mushroom Chips have a mind-altering crunch and deep ridges of flavor layered with crisp and crave-y tastes and textures.  Be the first to experience Popadelics™ by getting dibs on our Indiegogo launch updates. You’ll also score discounts and a chance to win prizes when you sign up for our emails. Check us out at https://popadelics.com  and enter a new realm in snacking.

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