Porcini mushroom powder is a great addition to almost any recipe that calls for mushrooms.
Perhaps more remarkably, though, Porcini mushroom powder is an excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients.
It's believed that its powerful nutritional profile can provide a range of health benefits, from aiding weight loss to killing colon cancer cells.
Too good to be true? Well, that's what we're here to find out.
Stick with us to learn more about Porcini mushroom powder, including its health benefits and how exactly you should be using this so-called 'miracle fungus'.
What Is Porcini Mushroom Powder?
Most of the mushrooms we talk about here at The Bircher Bar are classified as traditional medicinal mushrooms (e.g. turkey tail, reishi, chaga etc.), however, some can be classified as both gourmet AND medicinal such as shiitake, lion's mane and ... yep, you guessed - porcini.
Porcini mushroom powder is made by extracting the flavourful compounds found in porcinis (also known as cepes or boletus).
These compounds include polysaccharides, which are long chains of sugars that give mushrooms their texture and taste.
The extraction process involves soaking dried porcinis in alcohol until they release their natural flavours, and then drying them further before grinding them into a fine powder.
This powder can be used as a substitute for fresh mushrooms in recipes, but it also has other uses, such as adding depth of flavour to sauces and soups.
Porcini Mushrooms: Health Benefits
Porcini mushrooms have been eaten for centuries across Europe and Asia.
They contain high levels of vitamin D, B vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, fibre, protein, zinc, copper, selenium, and manganese.
Porcini mushrooms are also rich in antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutein.
Antioxidants help protect cells against damage caused by free radicals, which are molecules that break down cells.
Not convinced? Let's see what science says about the health benefits of porcini mushrooms.
Helps With Weight Loss
Although porcini mushrooms are low in calories, they're loaded with fibre and protein.
Protein key in assisting with weight loss as it has been found to help increase the body’s resting energy expenditure rates, helping to burn fat after meals.
May Help Kill Cancer Cells In The Colon
Very early clinical studies indicate that porcini mushrooms may even help kill colon cancer cells.
One test-tube study indicated that extracts from the humble porcini mushroom were capable of causing cell death in human colon cancer cells.
Other studies have discovered similar results, finding that compounds in the porcini mushroom are potentially capable of preventing the spread and growth of colon cancer cells.
Can Improve Digestive Health
Porcini mushrooms may also help improve our digestive health as they have an incredibly high fibre content.
High-fibre diets can reduce constipation and keep bowel movements regular.
Studies have also shown that high-fibre diets and foods may help improve the symptoms of conditions such as gastro-oesophageal reflux, stomach ulcers, and diverticulitis.
Can Help Reduce Inflammation
If that isn't enough, these incredible mushrooms may also help reduce inflammation.
For example, one animal study published in 2016 found that mice treated with extracts of the porcini mushroom saw decreased markers of inflammation.
The inflammatory response related to asthma was also notably reduced.
How To Use Porcini Mushroom Powder
As science is beginning to uncover, there are plenty of reasons why incorporating porcini mushrooms into your diet can be beneficial to your health!
And as for flavour and improving your meals - they are one of the best culinary mushroom options available anywhere!
So how exactly do you use porcini mushroom powder? And what are the best ways to introduce it into your diet?
Let's take a look.
Use It As A Substitute For Fresh Porcini Mushrooms
You can use porcini mushroom powder to replace fresh porcini mushrooms when cooking or baking.
Simply add the powder to your dish at the beginning of the process.
If you want to make sure you get all of the nutrients from the mushrooms, try adding them after.
Dried porcini powder is great as it lasts much longer than the fresh mushrooms, and is often easier to come by.
Add It To Your Smoothies
You can also easily use porcini mushroom powder to enhance your smoothies' depth of flavour and health benefits.
Just mix 1 teaspoon of powder into each serving of smoothie, along with your other favourite ingredients.
Porcini mushroom powder does have a distinct earthy taste, so just adjust accordingly to get the flavour you’re after.
Make Soup Or Stew
A great way to incorporate porcini mushroom powder into meals is to make soup or stew. In fact, this is probably the best and most common way to use porcini mushroom powder.
You can simply add the powder to soups or stews before serving to give a great umami flavour boost.
Mix With Any Other Savoury Meals
Aside from soups and stews - porcini powder also goes great in pasta dishes, sauces, salad dressings and almost any other meal.
This will give you a hearty dose of mushrooms without having to eat a whole bowl full of them!
Add To Coffee
Coffee purists look away - but yes, you can even add porcini mushroom powder to your coffee!
Doing this can even help counteract some unwanted side effects of caffeine consumption, including the notorious jitters and anxiety.
Be aware that it does change the flavour of your coffee though, so start out with a small amount and see if it’s for you!
Porcini Mushroom Powder: Recipe Inspiration
The truth is, porcini mushroom powder has the power to become one of the most diverse and powerful additions to your spice rack.
There are no hard and fast rules for how to use porcini mushroom powder in your cooking, and that's why we love it! The possibilities are endless.
Whether you want to add it to your favourite stew, rub it on some meat or incorporate it into your morning coffee, almost anything is possible.
Feeling overwhelmed with choice? Why not take a quick look at some of our favourite porcini mushroom powder recipe ideas below:
Porcini Mushroom Powder Gravy
This gravy is perfect over mashed potatoes, rice, polenta, or noodles.
Just whisk together two tablespoons of porcini mushroom powder, ½ cup of milk, ¼ cup of flour, and salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a boil and then simmer until thickened. Serve warm.
Use Porcini Mushroom Powder As A Meat Rub
If you’re looking for an easy way to flavour meats, consider using porcini mushroom powder instead of traditional seasonings.
Mix one tablespoon of porcini mushroom powder with one tablespoon of olive oil and spread evenly over the surface of the meat.
Let sit for 30 minutes, then grill or bake according to the directions on the package.
Use It For Casseroles, Soups, And Risottos
You can use porcini mushroom dust to create delicious risotto-style dishes. Simply combine 3 cups of broth (or stock) with 1/3 cup of white wine.
Then stir in 1/2 cup of arborio rice and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once cooked, pour in 1/4 cup of porcini mushroom dust and toss well.
Continue to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the grains are tender but still retain their shape. Delicious!
The Bottom Line
Porcini mushroom powder is a delicious, versatile and health-boosting ingredient that can be used in many ways.
From making savoury gravies to flavouring meats, there isn't really any limit to what you can do with it.
If you haven't tried it yet, grab yourself a jar and start experimenting with porcini mushroom powder!
P.S. - want to make your own dried porcini mushroom powder? Check this out!