King Trumpet, Fungi Excellence

King Trumpet—Pleurotus eryngii

Of all mushrooms commonly consumed, oyster mushrooms in the genus Pleurotus stand out as exceptional allies for improving human and environmental health.  These mushrooms enjoy terrific reputation as the easiest to cultivate, richly nutritious and medicinally supportive. Paul Stamets, American mycologist and author

I love wild mushrooms, but when my favorites are out of season, I turn to store-bought fungi. Not the kind wrapped in plastic, but those in baskets that are as fresh as if I had handpicked them myself. One of my favorites is the king trumpet—a delicious fungus that is highly nutritious!

The king trumpet (Pleurotus eryngii) also called the king oyster mushroom, king brown, turban mushroom, trumpet Royale, French horn, boletus of the steppes, and Ali’i Oyster (a Polynesian word for king) is native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. King trumpet belongs to the genus Pleurotus, and is the largest of that family. It is farmed commercially throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States.

As food: Steamed, sautéed, or dried, this meaty fungus has a buttery flavor, and doesn’t cook down like most. I like to slice and sauté them with olive oil. Once cooked, I season them with Himalayan pink salt, and cracked black pepper. (Salting mushrooms while cooking causes them to dehydrate, and lose flavor.) I then mix them with cooked asparagus, green beans or Brussels sprouts, or add them to steamed rice. There’s no limit to their culinary use.

As medicine: The whole mushroom is antioxidant that removes impurities from the body, especially the eyes, kidneys, and liver. This fungus has a disease-fighting compound called Lovastatin that targets and reduces cholesterol from the circulatory system, and controls insulin in the body. Because it improves blood levels, it is an excellent source for combating anemia. It is also an effective energy booster. With antibacterial properties, it is also good for fighting infections.

Look for king trumpet at your local market where it is often called turban mushroom, or grow them yourself.  One of my favorite online shops is Fungi Perfecti; they offer a variety of the highest quality fungi, and other fungi related products—check ‘em out, and enjoy! 

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