The Efficacy of Cauliflower Mushrooms

Health / Life

A cauliflower mushroom sprouted on a grass field. / Photo by: Witold Krasowski via 123RF

 

The cauliflower mushroom goes by a lot of other names: Sparassis crispa, brain fungus, hen of the woods, truffle mushroom, and white fungus.

All of these names celebrate cauliflower mushroom’s unique appearance. It has a cauliflower-like appearance that also looks similar to a brain, which thrives around the base of conifer and pine trees.

The parasitic and saprophytic white mushroom is grown in Japan, Korea, Australia, and the United States.

 

What are the benefits of Cauliflower mushroom?

A weighing scale. / Photo by: Andriy Popov via 123RF

 

There are many touted benefits of cauliflower mushrooms. One of the most noteworthy benefits include the cauliflower mushroom’s ability to help raise hemoglobin levels in the body.

According to a 2002 study by Japanese researchers, cauliflower mushroom also has anti-tumor properties. The researchers reported that cauliflower mushroom was able to help fight off a certain tumor that affects mice called Sarcoma 180.

In a 2015 study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, researchers found that sparassis crispa extracts have a hypocholesterolic effect on rat subjects through the metabolism of cholesterol and the reduction of cholesterol levels.

 

How to eat Cauliflower mushroom

A small cauliflower mushroom sprouting on a grass. / Photo by: tomas1111 via 123RF

 

If you happen to find cauliflower mushrooms on your local market or while you are hiking, you can easily spot them. They are often found around the base of conifer and pine trees, standing out with their white cauliflower-like appearance.

Another way of describing the unique-looking cauliflower mushroom is that it looks similar to a bunch of egg noodles packed together.

Cauliflower mushrooms are approximately 90% water and contain proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber. It also contains .017 mg of vitamin D for every 100 grams, which is reportedly higher than in any other type of mushroom.

Make sure to clean your cauliflower mushrooms well before attempting to prepare them for cooking. The various folds of cauliflower mushrooms can accumulate a lot of different things that you definitely wouldn’t want to add to your food.

One way of doing this is to cut the mushroom into chunks and soak them in a bowl of cold water so that all those debris would be dislodged, making it easier to clean the mushrooms. It’s also ideal to slice off any bits that don’t look odd before laying down the pieces to dry on top of a clean cloth.

 

Cooking Cauliflower mushroom

Raw venison sausage. / Photo by: Pamela Maxwell via 123RF

 

There are many different ways to cook cauliflower mushrooms. Generally, you can try cooking cauliflower mushrooms just like any other mushrooms after cleaning and preparing them well.

If you want to highlight the unique texture and taste of cauliflower mushrooms, however, as opposed to just adding it like any other mushroom, it’s ideal to cook them in a soup. When cooked, the cauliflower mushroom has a texture similar to that of al dente egg noodles; making them perfect for soups.

One simple way of doing this is to simmer the cleaned and prepared cauliflower mushrooms in venison, duck, or a similar broth, and then add some more broth right before serving. They also go well with red meats so you can try opting for other red meat broths if you want.

Another way is by making a gratin with cauliflower mushrooms and some cabbage. Just saute a half cup of shallots in a tablespoon of unsalted butter for 2 minutes, add a pound of diced green cabbage, a quarter cup of chicken stock, salt, and pepper.

Stirring occasionally as you let the mixture cook until the cabbage wilts and becomes tender, for about 10 to 15 minutes on medium-low heat. When it’s done, drain the liquid and set the cooked cabbage aside.

You can then start browning the cauliflower mushrooms in a tablespoon of unsalted butter with some salt and pepper. Cool the mushrooms before mixing them with the cooked cabbage, a teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme, and half a cup of shredded gruyere cheese.

Put the mixture in a casserole or gratin dish, drizzle a quarter cup of chicken stock, and sprinkle a mixture of half a cup of lightly toasted breadcrumbs and a tablespoon of chopped Italian parsley over the mixture. Top the mixture with two tablespoons of butter and bake for 15 minutes on a preheated oven.

 

Is the cauliflower mushroom a good food for gout?

A middle aged man suffering from gout in his hand. / Photo by: thamkc via 123RF

 

For people with gout, a form of arthritis that is caused by high uric acid levels in the blood, what they eat on a daily basis can either help improve or worsen their condition. Their diets can also be particularly limiting—they have to steer clear of red meats, organ meats, high-purine seafood like anchovies and tuna, sugary foods, and alcohol.

According to Mushrooms Canada, mushrooms are rich in a type of carbohydrate called beta-glucans which have anti-inflammatory properties. This is beneficial for protecting the body against disease like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and lower the risk of gout.

Furthermore, mushrooms are great substitutes for meats. In a gout diet, the intake of meats is very limited as they are high in purines, which can worsen gout. Mushrooms are a great way to replace meat in your diet because it has less calories, less saturated fats, and less cholesterol than meats.

 

How to Grow Cauliflower Mushrooms

A cauliflower mushroom growing from a dead tree. / Photo by: Heiko Kverling via 123RF

 

There are reports that some people have tried cultivating cauliflower mushrooms, but it’s important to understand they are saprobes. This means that get their nutrients from the roots or dying or dead trees.

This means the cultivating them may not be as easy as it seems. But even if you do have the right environment to cultivate them well, it’s not that easy to find them in the wild. They grow on the bases of conifer and pine trees, but they can be hidden so well that you wouldn’t even see them if you weren’t actually looking for them.

 

The Price of Cauliflower Mushroom

A man counting his money. / Photo by: efetova via 123RF

 

Cauliflower mushrooms are not easy to find in the wild, but they are also not that easy to find in local markets, especially if they are not locally cultivated in your area.

However, if you’re lucky enough to find them in local markets, you may be able to buy them for around $4 to $6 per pound. If you opt to order them online, where dried varieties of cauliflower mushrooms seem to be easier to find, you may find them sold for around  $7 to $10 per kilo.