Cremini mushrooms are spongy, umbrella-shaped fungi, which prosper in dark and damp conditions. It may either be edible or wild.  Even though it is considered a vegetable, mushrooms are neither a plant nor animal-based food. Mushrooms are generally identified by their appearance and are recognized by their stem, fleshy round cap, and gills beneath the cap. It has been estimated that there are about 2000 edible varieties of mushrooms. Mushrooms are produced all across the globe, among which China and the U.S. are among the top producers.

Cremini Mushrooms
Different varieties of mushrooms on table

Among various varieties, Agaricus Bisporus dominates the edible mushroom market especially in North America and Europe, in several forms. However, nowadays it can be found in nearly every grocery store and home garden. As it ages, this mushroom turns from small, white and smooth to large and light brown. In its youngest form, it is known as the common mushroom, button mushroom, cultivated mushroom, and champignon mushroom. Its fully mature form is known as portobello. Its semi-mature form is known variously as cremini, baby bella, swiss brown mushroom, roman brown mushroom, Italian brown mushroom, or chestnut mushroom. Further, cremini mushrooms have a mild earthy flavour and a meaty texture. Further, it has brown colour and has a stronger taste. 

Health Benefits of Cremini Mushroom

Cremini mushrooms are a rich source of dietary fibre (chitin), amino acids, digestible protein, compounds with significant antioxidant activity (sterols, phenolic, and indole compounds) and vitamins, especially vitamin D; thereby adding value to a healthy balanced diet. Some of the health benefits of including cremini mushrooms in the diet are as follows:

  • Boost immunity: Unlike other types of mushrooms, cremini mushroom is composed of a significant amount of helpful bacteria which is beneficial for the human digestive tract. These helpful bacteria further aid in improving digestion and boost the body’s immune response.
  • Rich in fibres: The fibres present in the mushrooms help in smooth digestion which indicates less bloating and a stable microbiome. The intake of lots of fibre in the diet also helps prevent heart disease and diabetes.
  • Good source of antioxidants: Mushrooms are loaded with plenty of antioxidants and cremini mushrooms are no exception. Presence of antioxidants in the diet act as the first line of defense against oxidative stress. It also helps keep some chronic illnesses at bay like diabetes, cancer and Parkinson’s diseases.
  • Plant-based source of vitamin D: It is one of the non-animal-based sources of vitamin D.
  • Excellent source of proteins: Mushrooms can be a suitable alternative to meat as they possess high protein content.
  • Good for cardiovascular health: Recent research on cremini mushrooms shows that edible mushrooms may help to keep the lipid profile in check, which consequently indicates a healthy heart.
  • Keeps pregnancy problems at bay: researchers found that those women who had mushrooms in their daily diet are less likely to develop gestational diabetes, unhealthy weight gain, hypertension or preeclampsia.
Cremini mushrooms
Brown colored cremini mushrooms

Ways to Store Cremini Mushroom

Mushrooms are prone to getting slimy, pale, dehydrated with wrinkly. The presence of an extra amount of water accelerates the process of decay. Mushrooms can be stored in the fridge for about 5 to 6 days, either in their original packing or in the brown paper bag (folded from the top) or towel. However, the best way to prevent it from spoiling is to use it as soon as possible.

Ways to Clean Cremini Mushroom

As the mushrooms grow on the ground, they tend to have dirt on them. So before using it, one may either soak it in a bowl of water or rinse it carefully under running water. However, it must be noted that the mushrooms being 90% saturated won’t absorb the water. 

Raw cremini mushrooms
Raw unwashed cremini mushrooms
Potential Risks of Cremini Mushroom

Even though there are several health benefits of eating cremini mushrooms, there exists a certain category of people who are allergic to them. The allergy due to mushrooms generally happens when the body misinterprets the proteins present in the mushrooms to be unusual particles. This results in the deterioration of the immune system. Thus, the body of the person releases antibodies to fight the proteins by releasing histamine. The symptoms that come are caused due to histamine. Some of the common symptoms of the allergy-induced due by mushrooms are as follows: skin rashes, diarrhoea, stomach bloating, nausea, swelling of the mouth, lips and/or throat, vomiting etc. These symptoms are meagre in some people while this allergy can be fatal for some such as fainting, shortness of breath and lowering blood pressure. 

Also, it is advised not to consume raw cremini mushrooms (or any other mushroom) if you are (a) pregnant; (b) undergoing any sort of medical treatment or (c) suffering from any illness that might increase the risk of infection.

Uses of Cremini Mushroom

Mushrooms are widely known for their excellent taste and amazing health benefits. They are loaded with tons of essential vitamins and minerals. One of the most widely used varieties of mushrooms that are found in the kitchen all around the globe is cremini mushrooms. They can be used in a variety of dishes be it pasta, soups, tarts, risottos, omelettes, salads or for making gravies and sauces. In terms of cooking methods, they can be prepared via sautéing or by roasting, baking or simmering, and can be served raw as well.

Cremini mushrooms are delicious edible fungi. They are also known as baby bellas, as they’re essentially younger portobello mushrooms. It is darker and denser in appearance and is low in calories and fat. They are a rich source of fibre, antioxidants, vitamin D and proteins. The presence of nutrients in the cremini mushrooms thus tends to prevent the risk of developing certain diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure amongst others. Thus, it may very well be consumed for a healthy diet by people who are not allergic to it.

Aditi Singh, Content writer Intern