Porcini mushroom powder is a great addition to almost any recipe that calls for mushrooms.
Perhaps more remarkably, though, Porcini mushrooms, in general, are 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 Are Porcini Mushrooms?
Porcini mushrooms (also known as Boletus edulis, King Bolete, Penny Bun, or cèpe) are a special type of brown-capped mushroom that is highly prized in Italian and French cuisine. With their signature nutty, earthy flavour and meaty texture, they are sought after by both home cooks and professional chefs alike.
Normally found growing near the base of trees in pine forests, these gourmet mushrooms have brown caps atop thick white stalks.
Being difficult to cultivate, porcini mushrooms can be on the expensive side, but their unique flavour makes them worth it! In central Europe, porcinis are typically harvested during the autumn months and then dried for later use or export.
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.
If buying fresh mushrooms is not an option, porcini powder is a great alternative to consider. Porcini mushroom powder is made by extracting the flavourful compounds found in porcinis.
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 dried mushroom 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 Mushroom 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 is 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.
May Help Kill Breast Cancer Cells
A substance called BEP, a component in porcini mushrooms, may have benefits for breast cancer cells. BEP has been studied and shown to help stop the growth of breast cancer cells and trigger a process called apoptosis, which is the natural way cells self-destruct.
Can Improve Digestive Health
Porcini mushrooms may also help improve our digestive health as they have an incredibly high fibre content.
High-fibre diets may 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-esophageal 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
Porcinis are often described as nutty so 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, sauté, 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 Recipes
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 the Powdered Mushroom 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!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much porcini mushroom powder can you use?
There isn't a strict rule on how much porcini mushroom powder to use, however, the general guideline is to use 1 tablespoon of powder for every 1 cup of liquid or 1 tablespoon of powder per serving. Start with a small amount and adjust to taste.
What are some porcini mushroom powder uses?
Porcini mushroom powder can be used in a variety of dishes, such as soups, stews, risotto, sauces, gravy, and meat and vegetable dishes to add an intense umami flavour. It can also be used as a rub for meats. The powder can be mixed with water to create a broth or added to olive oil for a marinade.
How to clean porcini mushrooms?
First, gently brush off any dirt or debris with a soft brush or cloth. Do not rinse the mushrooms as they will absorb too much water and lose their flavour. If necessary, use a damp paper towel to gently wipe off any remaining dirt or debris. Trim off any tough stems or bruises before using.
How to store dried porcini mushrooms?
Store porcini mushrooms in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from moisture and light. They can last up to a year if stored properly. Do not store them in the refrigerator as they may absorb moisture and become mouldy.
Where do porcini mushrooms grow?
You can find porcini mushrooms in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America. They typically grow in forested areas and prefer mild, humid climates. They can be found growing naturally or cultivated.
What are porcini mushrooms good for?
Porcini mushrooms are a good source of protein, fibre, and vitamins, such as vitamin B-6 and niacin. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and may help boost the immune system. Additionally, their rich, meaty flavour makes them a popular ingredient in many dishes, especially in Italian cuisine.
What are some good porcini mushroom substitutes?
There are a variety of substitutions for porcini mushrooms, including portobello mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, and chanterelle mushrooms. These mushrooms have similar earthy, meaty textures and umami flavours to porcini mushrooms, making them suitable alternatives for similar dishes.
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!