News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

The Holden Arboretum

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

Hospice of the Western Reserve


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Social Issues




Fun with fungi
Two old friends who say mushrooms cured their chronic health problems are on a mission to help others
by WKSU's VIVIAN GOODMAN
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter
Vivian Goodman
 
Blue Oysters
Courtesy of Vivian Goodman
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Last week on Quick Bites, we found out about growing mushrooms outdoors on rotten logs. Today the focus is still on fungi as we learn how to grow them indoors.
shrooms to grow

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (7:05)


Joe Dennis believes he improved his own health by eating mushrooms after discovering that the little fungi are misunderstood.

 “As we’re growing up everyone says, ‘That’s a mushroom, stay away from that, they could poison you, and they could kill you.’ They’re fungaphobes.” 

Dennis and his business partner, Don Jacobs, opened a store last year on Akron’s South Arlington Street: The Mushroom Shack.  They’re longtime friends who had both suffered from high blood pressure and high cholesterol until they started eating mushrooms and taking mushroom supplements about four years ago.

In search of the finest fungi
Dennis and Jacobs discovered that the gourmet mushrooms they preferred provided the greatest medicinal benefit. But those were either too expensive or too hard to find. They wanted shiitake, maitake, lion’s mane, oyster and reishi, and not just the white buttons and portabellos and criminis that you find in the stores on the shelf.”

So they started growing their own and getting friends and family members to grow some, too. At first, it was a hobby they pursued in their garages and basements, but eventually they needed a store, a laboratory and a walk-in terrarium.

The mushrooms you get at the supermarket are of the genus agaricus bisporus. They include criminis, button mushrooms and portabellos. Dennis says they may look a little different, but they’re all the same.

“And a lot of people eat those mushrooms thinking that they’re eating healthy. It’s not unhealthy, but it doesn’t really have any good health benefits for you.”

Used medicinally for millennia in Asia
The Chinese have been using mushrooms as medicine for millennia but Mushroom Shack store manager Pamela Hendrix says western medicine has been skeptical, until lately.

Fun facts about fungi

Portobello Mushrooms
There is more potassium in one Portobello mushroom than an entire banana. (Men’s Health Magazine)

Button Mushrooms
One cup of button mushrooms contains one-third of the recommended daily amount of copper, which helps the body absorb iron and clot blood. (Men’s Health)

Shiitake and Maitake Mushrooms
Studies cited by the American Cancer Society say nutrients in shiitake and maitake mushrooms appear to be able to slow the growth of some cancer cells.   

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
While many studies are still in their infancy, Japanese scientists claim to have seen improved cognitive function – such as memory -- in people who have consumed lion’s mane mushrooms over a 30-day period.

Oyster Mushrooms
A study at Penn State University concluded that oyster mushrooms are rich in a unique antioxidant that helps protect cells in the body. 

Reishi Mushrooms
The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York said reishi is used as an immune stimulant for cancer and HIV patients.

 “There’s actually a lot of research that’s just emerging on certain types of mushrooms. For instance, the turkey-tail mushroom which is actually a fairly common mushroom in Northeast Ohio. There’s research being done ... that shows it  has some anti-cancer, anti-tumor properties."

Hendrix studies mycology, the science of mushrooms, at the University of Akron.

“You know it’s really an exciting, emerging field and we’re just getting started with a lot of this stuff.”

A matter of taste
Dennis says some customers prefer to take mushroom medicinals and supplements because they want the health benefits, but hate the taste of mushrooms.

“But a lot of the mushrooms here, the shiitake and the oyster mushroom and lion’s mane mushrooms and things like that, they taste a lot better.”

Dennis says chefs from Akron’s best restaurants are loyal customers.

It’s in the bag
For $24 to $26, Pamela Hendrix can give you all you need to grow any of two dozen types of shiitake mushrooms or your preference of several other gourmet strains. It looks like a house plant inside a large sealed plastic bag.

“It’s got your mycelium and everything already growing on it. You usually take it home and put it in the refrigerator for a day or two to cool it down, kind of simulate winter conditions.”

After you remove it from the fridge you soak the whole bag in cold water for a day or two.

“And that’s really all there is to it. In about two weeks, you’ll have a crop.” 

Each crop, also called a “flush,” should produce a half pound to a pound of mushrooms.

Fear of foraging
If you’re  adventurous, you might want to hunt in the woods for the popular morels or chanterelles, but Hendrix says if you’re not an expert foraging is ill-advised.

 “The classical cap and stem configuration you have to be careful of. Some of them can resemble the amanita genus of mushrooms and a lot of those are very, very poisonous.”

She says a better idea is to come along with Mushroom Shack staff and customers on their monthly mushroom hunts.

Hendrix says since she made mushrooms a regular part of her diet, she rarely catches cold.

And Joe Dennis says after four years of munching mushrooms and taking mushroom supplements, he and his partner Don Jacobs no longer worry about  their blood pressure and cholesterol.

And that’s this week’s Quick Bite. Next week it’s all about the brew when we tour Akron’s Hoppin’ Frog Brewery. 

(Click image for larger view.)


Related Links & Resources
the Mushroom Shack website


Related WKSU Stories

You can grow your own mushrooms
Friday, April 26, 2013

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook






Stories with Recent Comments

Cleveland deal ramps up civilian oversight of police
i would like to see police get mandatory psych evals one a year from out side the department.

The generation gap in care for developmentally disabled Ohioans
I don't understand how a few hours a day of caregiving can possibly help a person who lives with complex/multiple disabilities. Many waiver recipients totally d...

Marijuana referendum may change more than pot's legal status in Ohio
If our representatives would act in accordance with the will of the people things like this wouldn't happen. They dragged their feet and blocked discussion on t...

Area pastors and congregation members protest justice system
I live in Cleveland. trust me when I say the high incarceration rate is due to the high crime rate.

Ohio's attorney general rejectsthe latest proposal to legalize marijuana
i think the ag launguage is money hes talking about drug companies must pay him more than responsible ohio can

PBS documentary chronicles the fall of Saigon through new footage and stories
Hi, Does anyone know the number - in the pbs special "Last Days of Vietnam" documentary, of how many Vietnamese were evacuated? Please e-mail me the answer. T...

Protest planned at tomorrow's FirstEnergy meeting
The problems of the poor and downtrodden have nothing to do with First Energy. They are the result of Republican legislators who consistently reduce taxes on th...

Ohio bill would help smaller communities with LGBT discrimination laws
Do we not try and have rights for all individuals equally? On the HUD list of "preferred" candidates who get "special consideration" it states that: For purp...

Ohio likely will continue with two types of police academies
Wake up people your wanting a Harvard law school education for a job that may pay a little over the poverty level. I don't know anyone who could support a wife ...

Police Week's ties from NE Ohio to D.C.
The men and women in blue who risk their lives everyday to serve and protect us....and this is as much recognition and appreciation that NPR/WKSU feels to offer...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University