Mushroom Powder: A Healthier Umami Source

Mushroom powder is a seasoning powder that consists of dried and powdered mushrooms. It is most commonly made with one of two types of mushrooms: shiitake mushrooms and porcini mushrooms. Other types of mushrooms may be dried and powdered, but shiitakes and porcinis are popular because of their relatively strong flavor profiles.

Shiitake mushrooms have been popular throughout Asia for centuries and have been growing wild there since prehistoric times. They were first cultivated by the Chinese over 600 years ago. They were cultivated by Wu San Kwung during the Sung Dynasty. In China, shiitakes are known as shiang gu or fragrant mushrooms. They are still valued today because of how versatile they are as food and medicine. They are also the world’s second most cultivated type of mushroom after the button mushroom and the most popular mushroom in Asia.

In the 1970s, the cultivation of shiitake mushrooms spread to other parts of the world such as the US and parts of Europe. In the US, this was because a ban on cultivating them was lifted.

You should be able to find dried shiitake mushrooms in your Asian grocer or a well-stocked Western supermarket.

You can find porcini mushrooms in Europe, the United States, and Asia but they are especially popular in Italy. The gathering of porcinis in Italy has been strictly regulated to prevent overharvesting. Porcini mushrooms have been a favorite in Italy since the time of Ancient Rome. The Romans prized porcini mushrooms and referred to them as boleti. Porcini translates to piglets because pigs are known to be fond of the mushroom and seek them out.

These days, dried porcini mushrooms are relatively easy to find in American grocery stores. You can use them to make your own mushroom powder if you don’t want to purchase commercially made mushroom powder.

Mushroom powder flavor profile

Mushroom powder is used primarily to enhance savory flavors. It provides an intense umami note to foods. Many people consider mushroom powder to be preferable to the flavor of fresh mushrooms because the flavor is more concentrated.

Health benefits of mushroom powder

Regardless of the type of mushroom used to make it, mushroom powder has certain benefits such as the fact that it low in calories but it can also have some important nutrients such as:

  • B-glucan: Mushroom powder made with shiitake mushrooms contains b-glucan, a dietary fiber that can help you to feel full for longer.
  • Vitamins: Shiitake mushrooms are rich in a variety of B vitamins including riboflavin and niacin. They have a relatively high amount of pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B-5.
  • Minerals: While shiitake mushrooms contain small amounts of various minerals including zinc and manganese, they contain high levels of only one: copper. Porcini mushrooms are relatively rich in iron.

Using mushroom powder in your food can help to treat or prevent illnesses and health problems like:

  • Obesity: The b-glucan in shiitake mushroom powder can help with the feeling of satiety after eating, which can help you to take in fewer calories and lose weight.
  • Poor immune system: Studies have shown that mushroom powder can improve how your immune system functions by giving your white blood cells a boost.

Common uses

Use mushroom powder to give a savory intensity to stews and other meaty dishes. It is a great addition to meatloaf, burgers, and pasta sauce.