Preserving Vitamins While Cooking Exotic Mushrooms

Preserving Vitamins While Cooking Exotic Mushrooms



Edible exotic mushrooms have been celebrated across cultures for their distinctive flavours and potential health benefits. Varieties like Lion's Mane, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Oyster mushrooms have garnered attention not only for their taste but also for the potential vitamins they offer. As we explore the captivating world of these fungi, we'll delve into the significance of vitamins in mushrooms and uncover the impact of cooking at high temperatures on their nutrient content.


What Are The Main Vitamins in Exotic Mushrooms?


Mushrooms such as lion’s mane or oysters are more than just culinary delights; they also provide a range of vitamins that contribute to our overall health. The vitamins found in mushrooms are diverse and can play various roles in our well-being:


1. Vitamin D: Certain mushrooms, when exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet light during growth, can be a good source of vitamin D. This vitamin is essential for bone health, immune function, and overall well-being.


2. B Vitamins Complex:

   - Niacin (Vitamin B3): Vital for energy production, skin health, and maintaining a healthy nervous system. Optimal cooking temperature: (50°C to 70°C) Lower heat methods like sautéing to retain more niacin.

   - Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): Supports energy production and maintains healthy skin. Optimal cooking temperature: (60°C to 100°C) Moderate heat methods to prevent riboflavin loss.

   - Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): Essential for energy metabolism and maintaining healthy skin and hair. Optimal cooking temperature: (60°C to 100°C) Similar to riboflavin, moderate heat methods are ideal.

   - **Biotin (Vitamin B7)**: Metabolises fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, and supports healthy hair, skin, and nails. Optimal cooking temperature: (40°C to 70°C) Low to moderate heat to preserve biotin.

   - Vitamin B12: Critical for nerve function, DNA synthesis, and red blood cell formation. Optimal cooking temperature: (70°C to 85°C) Lower heat methods are better for retaining vitamin B12 content.


3. Vitamin C: Oyster mushrooms are notable for their vitamin C content. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, supports the immune system, and aids collagen production for healthy skin. Optimal cooking temperature: (raw or minimal heat, up to 45°C) Quick cooking methods like steaming or microwaving to minimise vitamin C loss.


4. Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that supports skin health, protects cells from oxidative stress, and contributes to a healthy immune system. Optimal cooking temperature: (40°C to 70°C) Gentle cooking methods like sautéing with lower temperatures.


5. Vitamin K: Vitamin K is crucial for blood clotting and bone health. Some mushroom varieties contain small amounts of this important nutrient. Optimal cooking temperature: (40°C to 70°C) Like vitamin E, lower heat methods are better for vitamin K retention.


6. Vitamin A: Vitamin A is essential for vision, immune function, and maintaining healthy skin and mucous membranes. While not as abundant in mushrooms as in some other foods, they can contribute to your daily intake. Optimal cooking temperature: (40°C to 70°C) Lower heat methods to minimise vitamin A loss.


Lion's mane, turkey tail, oyster, and shiitake mushrooms are not significant sources of vitamins A, C, E, and K, but they do provide good amounts of B vitamins, especially niacin and pantothenic acid. They also contain small amounts of vitamin D.


What happens to the vitamins when mushrooms are exposed to high temperatures during cooking?


Vitamin Stability: The vitamins present in mushrooms are generally sensitive to heat and light. Like any food, cooking can cause some loss of these vitamins. However, careful cooking methods can help mitigate this loss and retain more of the nutritional value.


Release of Medicinal Compounds: Cooking mushrooms at temperatures between (60°C to 80°C) can break down chitin, a component of mushroom cell walls. This process releases bioactive compounds that are believed to have medicinal properties. This is particularly evident with compounds like beta-glucans, known for their immune-enhancing properties.


What Is The Best Cooking Method For Cooking Exotic Mushrooms?


There is no definitive answer to the best cooking way of exotic mushrooms, as different methods may suit different types of mushrooms and personal preferences. However, here are some general tips and suggestions that you may find helpful:


- To prepare and clean exotic mushrooms, you should brush off or wipe away any dirt and debris attached, and avoid washing them unless they are visibly dirty. If you do wash them, do not soak them and cook them straight away. You should also eat the mushrooms whole, as the stalks and peels contain nutrients such as beta-glucan.

- To cook exotic mushrooms, you need high heat, enough fat (preferably butter), and time. The main secret is to not stir the mushrooms too much, as this will prevent them from releasing too much liquid and steaming instead of sautéing. You should let them cook undisturbed until they reduce in size and get golden edges, then flip them and cook them again without stirring. This will result in perfectly browned and tender mushrooms.

- To roast exotic mushrooms, you should preheat the oven to 200 °C, slice the mushrooms in half, toss them with olive oil, garlic powder, and salt, and spread them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the mushrooms are tender. You can also season them with fresh herbs for extra flavor.

- To grill or microwave exotic mushrooms, you should follow the instructions from the researchers who found that grilling or microwaving mushrooms showed significantly less antioxidant activity loss than frying or boiling them. They also suggested adding a little oil to enhance the flavor and texture of the mushrooms.

It is important to note that exposing mushrooms to such high temperatures for extended periods may lead to the degradation of sensitive nutrients, especially water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C. After this initial high-heat step, reducing the temperature can indeed help in preserving the nutritional value of the mushrooms. Lowering the heat minimizes the risk of overcooking and nutrient loss. Adding butter or olive oil can enhance the taste and also aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins present in the mushrooms. Incorporating your choice of sauces and spices not only adds flavor but can also introduce additional nutrients and antioxidants to the dish. However, it's recommended to avoid excessive use of high-sodium or high-sugar sauces to maintain the overall healthiness of the meal. As a general guideline, adapting cooking techniques based on the type of mushroom and its specific nutritional profile can help strike a balance between achieving delicious flavors and preserving the valuable nutrients that these exotic mushrooms offer.



Edible mushrooms offer a spectrum of vitamins that contribute to our well-being. While cooking can lead to some vitamin loss, the potential release of medicinal compounds and the remaining nutrient content make mushrooms a valuable addition to our diet. Exploring various cooking methods can help strike a balance between unlocking the benefits of mushrooms and preserving their nutritional value. So, next time you prepare a dish featuring Lion's Mane, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, or Oyster mushrooms, you can savour both the flavour and the potential health benefits they bring to your plate, including the elusive vitamin B12. Remember, adapting your cooking techniques can help you retain the maximum nutritional value of these mushroom vitamins.


For further reading:

(1) 9 Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Plus Side Effects).

(2) Lion's Mane : Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage, and Interactions.

(3) Lion’s Mane Mushrooms: What Are The Benefits - WebMD.

(4) Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits, According to Science - Real Simple.

(5) Turkey Tail: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage, Precautions.

(6) 5 Immune-Boosting Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushroom - Healthline.

(7) TURKEY TAIL MUSHROOM - Uses, Side Effects, and More - WebMD.

(8) Oyster Mushroom Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits - Verywell Fit.

(9) 7 Impressive Benefits of Oyster Mushrooms - Healthline.

(10) Shiitake Mushroom Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits - Verywell Fit.

(11) Why Shiitake Mushrooms Are Good For You - Healthline.

(12) Shiitake Mushroom Extract: Benefits, Side Effects & Dosage.

(13) How to prepare and cook extraordinary mushrooms - SBS.

(14) How to cook mushrooms – you won’t believe the secret!.

(15) Perfect Roasted Mushrooms (Fast & Easy!) – A Couple Cooks.

(16) The Healthiest Way to Cook Mushrooms Is Totally Surprising - TIME.

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