Straw Mushroom facts and nutrition

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Straw Mushroom Quick Facts
Name: Straw Mushroom
Scientific Name: Volvariella volvacea
Origin Throughout East and Southeast Asia
Colors Fully-grown pileus is greyish white with a reddish tinge
Shapes Umbrella like fleshy structure attached to the stipe. The size of the pileus is affected by environmental factors, but generally it is around 5-15 cm broad (Pileus)
Flesh colors Whitish
Taste Rather musty taste
Calories 58 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Selenium (50.36%)
Sodium (46.60%)
Iron (32.50%)
Copper (26.89%)
Vitamin B9 (17.25%)
Health benefits Strengthening bones, Good for heart health, Increase endurance, Prevent Anemia, Contains low cholesterol, Good for the Growth Period, Good for diabetes, Reduce free radicals, Prevent the growth of cancer cells
Paddy Straw Mushroom, known simply as a straw mushroom, and more formally as Volvariella volvacea, is a type of edible mushroom belonging to Pluteaceae family. The plant is widely grown in the hot, steamy climate of tropical, subtropical regions and temperate regions of both the eastern and Southeastern Asia and used extensively in Asian cuisines. The thumb sized mushrooms are heavily cultivated for food are often available fresh in Asia, but are more frequently found in canned or dried forms outside their nations of cultivation. Attempts to grow them in the southern United States so far have been unsuccessful. Worldwide, straw mushrooms rank third in consumption, although their use in the West is somewhat uncommon and usually confined to use in Oriental cooking. Few of the popular common names of the plant are straw mushroom, paddy straw mushroom, grass mushrooms, Tributary mushroom, Nanhua mushroom and Chinese mushroom.

The different varieties of Volvariella found worldwide are V. bombycine, V. coesiotincta, V. gloiocephala, V. hypopithys, V. iranica, V. jamaicensis, V. lepiotospora, V. peckii, V. sathei, V. speciosa, V. surrecta, V. volvacea. Amongst all these species Volvariella volvacea is commonly used for edible purpose. It is commonly known as paddy straw mushroom (because it grows best on paddy straw) or Chinese mushroom (because artificial cultivation of this mushroom first started in China having a white cap and long stem. It is also known as Nanhua mushroom. The name Nanhua came from the Nanhua Temple of Chaohsi in northern Kwangtung Province, China.

Plant Description

Straw Mushroom is a saprobic plant that grows gregariously or in clusters on dead leaves, dead wood, woodchips, and animal droppings, on trees, waste stumps, greenhouses, gardens, compost piles, and similar locations capable of appearing year-round. Additionally, it can also grows on water-hyacinth, palm oil bunch wastes, pericarp wastes, banana leaves, cotton waste, cocoa bean shell, and sawdust-Gliricidia mixture and sugar cane bagasse. The plant is normally found growing around 28 – 35°C.

Parts of Mushroom

The mature fruiting body can be distinguished into the following structures

Volva: The universal veil is known as volva and it remains more or less distinct in the adult mushroom as a cup like structure at the base of the stipe.

Stipe: Off-white to dull brown in color, long, round with a smooth surface and no annulus. Stipe enlarges slightly to a bulbous base, which is encased with a distinct membranous volva.

 Pileus: Pileus is the umbrella like fleshy structure attached to the stipe. The size of the pileus is affected by environmental factors, but generally it is around 5-15 cm broad. The ‘annulus’ or ring like structure on the stipe is noticeably absent in this mushroom.

Gills: Vertical, radial plates on the lower surface of the pileus are lamellae or gills. All gills are with entire margin and fimbriate edges, but the size varies from one quarter of the radius of the pileus to the full size. Top surface of the cap is soft and smooth in texture. The color of the fully-grown pileus is grayish white with a reddish tinge. The grey is dominant in the center of the cap. The stipe of the umbrella tapers from the base to the apex and is solid, smooth and white in color. The stipe is easily separable from the pileus at its junction. The gills are also free from stipe. Pileus is initially well shaped but later becomes convex to umbonate.

Cultivation of Volvariella volvacea

Volvariella volvacea is a tropical fungus that needs relatively high temperatures for vegetative growth and fruiting. It is cultivated on straw bed in the open field or by the use of wooden frames. It is the oldest and commonly used technique but it gives very low mushroom yield (10-15% of dry substrate). It is because straw alone is not sufficient as a composting material as it does not contains sufficient nutrients and has a slow rate of decomposition.

Cultivation Method

  1. Remove leaves of the straw bundle and cut to 2 ft. size with a straw cutter. The required number of straw bundles are soaked in a tank of sterilizer solution {formalin (100 ml) + bavistin (100g) + H2O (100 L)} for 12 to 16 hours.
  2. Remove the straw bundles from water and keep in standing positions for 5 to 6 hours and only 75 % moisture will remain in the straw bundles.
  3. 2 to 3 weeks old spawn divided in to 4 equal parts and make into small pieces.
  4. As nutrition, use 250 g of Dal powder grinded from whole grain of Bengal gram. Else use paddy husk or rice bran to reduce the cost of cultivation.
  5. Firstly, put a layer of straw of 6 inches that the top portion of straw are inside and bases are outer side. Put one part of the spawn pieces on the bed leaving 2 inches from outer side and at 3 inches distance. Powder of nutrition sprinkled over the spawn blocks and nearby area.
  6. Put again second layer 6 inches height of straw over the first layer. Arrange the straw on the opposite direction of the first layer. Sprinkle another part of spawn at a distance of 3 to 4 inches as in the first layer. Also sprinkle the nutrition powder over it has done previously.
  7. Put another 3rd layer of 6 inches of straw as like direction of 1st layer and put rest 2 parts of spawn over the third layer and sprinkle 2 parts of nutrition powder too.
  8. Final 4th layer of straw of 1 to 2 inches width, parallel to the 2nd layer cover the third layer and press the layer at the top so that the mycelium can grow well. The spilled straw all around the bed cut it.
  9. Ready bed cover with help of white polythene sheet. It may be removed for 30 minutes daily for aeration after 4-5 days bed preparation and only dried portion of straw bed is spray water.
  10. For aeration purpose, the polythene cover may be removed after 10 to 11 days.
  11. Harvesting: Best taste and flavor in cooking at budding stage therefore mushroom should be harvested at bud stage (dia. 2.5-3.5 cm and height 6.0-8.0 cm) 13-15 days of sowing.

Health benefits of Straw Mushroom

Listed below are few of the popular health benefits of using Straw Mushroom

1. Increase endurance

Straw Mushroom consists of ergothioneine which is considered a powerful antioxidant contained in the fungus and effective to protect the body from free radicals. This content will reduce fungal infections, microbes etc. It can also help cure ulcers or wound whistles.

Good content of vitamin A, B complex and C contained in the fungus is helpful to the immune system. Some other herbal plants also had the same amount of vitamin A, B which is very beneficial for the endurance.

2. Contains low cholesterol

Straw Mushroom consists of several proteins, contains no bad fats, and low carbohydrate content. Additionally, the fiber and enzyme content in the fungus helps launch the digestive system. The high protein content helps to burn cholesterol in the digestive system.

3. Good for the Growth Period

Proteins are used for growth. Compared with egg yolk, straw mushrooms do not consists of fat which is good for people with high cholesterol, and in the same time, also excellent to lower cholesterol level. Consumption of Straw Mushroom in the growth period will help the growth process.

4. Good for diabetes

Straw Mushroom consists of good natural insulin for diabetes, low fat fungus and carbohydrates. It is considered very well for your liver, pancreas and other endocrinal glands that can increase the formation of insulin with the right amount. Antibiotic content in the fungus is good to avoid infection due to diabetes-caused wounds.

5. Reducing free radicals

In addition to flavonoids that are well known to overcome free radicals, selenium is also one choice to overcome and reduce free radicals. Selenium within Straw Mushroom helps us to overcome the free radicals in the body.

Free radicals that enter from pollution smoke, alcohol, foods with bad fats, and electromagnetic radiation can cause serious illness. There is also some other things that helps in the process of reducing free radicals, like the benefits of star fruits as antioxidants to reduce free radicals.

6. Prevent the growth of cancer cells

Straw Mushroom helps to prevent growth of cancer cells in the breast and prostate cancer. Straw Mushrooms also consist of beta-glucan and conjugated linoleic acid that have a carcinogenic effect. Linoleic acid helps lower the effects of estrogen hormones, because when the hormone estrogen is too high, it has chance to increase the risk of breast cancer.

Beta-glucans also inhibit the growth of cancer cells in prostate cancer. The content of selenium in the fungus also effectively inhibits and reduces the amount of cancer cells.

7. Strengthening bones

Straw Mushroom consists of high calcium and vitamin D, which is the second largest vitamin D contained after cod liver oil. Therefore, the high content of calcium and vitamin D is very good for our bone growth. There are also alternatives which has the equally same amount of vitamin D, like the benefits of things that contain vitamin D.

8. Prevent Anemia

We need iron for our blood-structuring material. Iron deficiency may lead to higher chance of anemia, or the condition of a body with lacks of blood. Straw mushrooms have enough iron content to help us avoid the risk of anemia.

9. Good for heart health

Straw mushrooms have a high additional mineral content; one of it is potassium and copper. We know that copper has anti-bacterial properties that keep our internal organs away from bacterial disease attacks.

Supported by high potassium content, this is very good for maintaining the function of our blood vessels. As a result our heart will be well maintained.

Traditional uses and benefits of Straw Mushroom

  • It is also believed that these mushrooms help remove excess heat from the body.
  • They are believed to have blood thinning qualities and may function in lowering high blood pressure.
  • They have also been observed to help in the treatment of cancer and diabetes.
  • Some claim that these mushrooms help in managing various autoimmune diseases.
  • Paddy Straw mushrooms may help heal the damage from auto-immune disease.
  • They clear heat, have energy benefits, promotes the production of body fluid.
  • They have a healing function for hypertension patients and those with high blood cholesterol level.
  • Volvariella volvacea has been used to relieve heat stroke, bring down body temperature, enhance milk of women in childbirth, support baby’s health and make healthy liver and stomach.
  • Volvariella volvacea consist of isomerization protein that could improve the function of immunity, reduce cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis.
  • They promote the production of body fluid.

Method of Processing Straw Mushroom

To process the straw mushrooms, choose carefully the fresh mushrooms and don’t choose the wrong mushrooms, because there are mushrooms that contain toxins. Straw Mushroom has almost similar shapes and smells so choose carefully.

  • For Straw Mushroom, before cooked clean off dirt and washing.
  • Then boiled with boiling water about 5 minutes.
  • After exiting the froth and brownish water and smells typical, defecate.
  • Rinse mushrooms with cold water 2-3 times. Then drain.
  • Cook immediately and make sure not to stored long enough because the mushrooms will wither and rotten. Cook until completely cooked.

Culinary Uses

  • Straw Mushrooms are best enjoyed when cooked.
  • Add cooked straw mushrooms to your favorite omelet or place on top of grilled fish, burger or steak.
  • Add some freshly cooked straw mushrooms to any main course dish, or try as a fantastic addition to a soup, stew or stir fry.

Chicken and Paddy Straw Mushroom Stir Fry

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Rinse mushrooms under cold running tap water to remove any debris. Place mushrooms in bowl, and cover with boiling water. Let soak 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse well.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet or wok over high heat. Add garlic and chicken. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Add mushrooms and red pepper. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Whisk together broth, sherry, soy sauce, cornstarch and sugar in small bowl. Pour into wok.
  4. Add snow peas, and cook until sauce thickens. Serve immediately over steamed rice.

Delicious veg straw mushroom

Ingredients

  • Straw mushrooms 250 gm.
  • Onion chopped 100 gm.
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Chili powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Panch phoron – 1 teaspoon
  • Tomato chopped – 1 big size
  • Ginger – 1 inch
  • Garlic cloves – 4-5
  • asafoetida powder – 1 pinch
  • Garam masala – 1 teaspoon

Directions

  1. Slice into small pieces and clean the straw mushrooms in a bowl of water and extract all water of the mushrooms perfectly by pressing hand like picture.
  2. Heat one tablespoon oil in a pan, add in mushrooms, turmeric powder and salt to taste. Mix it well and fry the mushrooms perfectly about 5 mins. Keep it aside.
  3. Heat the same pan with two tablespoon cooking oil and add one pinch of asafoetida powder and half teaspoon panch phoran.
  4. When they start to crack add onion chopped and chili powder and fry it on medium flame until it becomes brown.
  5. When onion became brown add ginger, garlic cloves paste and tomato chopped into the pan. Mix it well and cook near about 2-3 mins on low flame until masala is ready.
  6. After masala is ready add little bit water and cook until thickened gravy, about 2 mins. Then add fried straw mushrooms. Stir it perfectly.
  7. Now straw mushrooms recipe is ready. Serve hot, garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Stir Fry Shrimp With Snow Peas & Straw Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. shrimp, shelled, deveined
  • 2 tsp. + 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • ½ lb. snow peas, trimmed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can straw mushrooms, drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can baby corn, drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can chicken broth
  • 3-4 TB oyster sauce, as needed
  • 2 TB cornstarch, mixed with ¼ c. water

Marinade:

  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2-inches ginger, peeled, grated
  • 2 TB Aloha shoyu
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. white pepper

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl; combine marinade ingredients.
  2. Marinate shrimp 15 minutes.
  3. In a wok or large skillet over medium heat; sauté shrimp in 2 teaspoons of oil until slightly pink.
  4. Remove from wok. Set aside.
  5. Into wok; stir fry snow peas in remaining oil until crisp tender.
  6. Add mushrooms, corn, chicken broth and oyster sauce. Bring to a boil.
  7. Return shrimp to wok with cornstarch mixture; stirring until slightly thickened. 

Straw Mushrooms in Crab Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • Dash of white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • One 15-ounce can straw mushrooms, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 pound fresh cooked crab meat, flaked lightly
  • 2 egg whites, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon minced cooked ham

Directions

  1. Mix the chicken broth, cornstarch, sesame oil, sherry, white pepper, and sugar in a saucepan.
  2. Place a wok or heavy skillet over high heat. When almost smoking, add the oil.
  3. Add the garlic and stir-fry until golden. Discard the garlic.
  4. Add the straw mushrooms and the crab meat and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove the mixture to a serving dish with a slotted spoon.
  5. Quickly add the chicken broth and cornstarch mixture to the wok.
  6. Beat the egg whites until mixed but not foamy and stir them into the chicken broth mixture.
  7. Pour the broth over the straw mushrooms and sprinkle with chopped ham.

Straw Mushrooms curry

Ingredients

  • 1 can straw mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Heat oil and saute curry powder until fragrant.
  2. Add straw mushrooms, water, tomato puree and salt.
  3. Stir until well combined and cooked.
  4. Remove and serve.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvariella_volvacea

https://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/226377

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/VOLLVO

https://www.mssf.org/cookbook/straw.html

http://agridaksh.iasri.res.in/html_file/mushroom/paddy_straw_mushroom.htm

https://www.mushroomexpert.com/volvariella_volvacea.html

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