Can You Eat Raw Mushrooms? Are They Safe?

The answer is a big Yes. But we’re talking mostly about the popular white button mushroom here. Yet you can use almost all edible mushrooms as long as you are keen on the texture and flavor. 

But the issue here is, “Is it safe to eat raw?”

If yes, which mushroom can we enjoy uncooked?

We will discuss this issue in today’s article.

Related: Healthiest types of vegetables you should know about

What Is A Mushroom Made Of?

We will discuss white mushroom in this section as it is the most popular mushroom type you can find on the store shelves. In case you do not know what it is, the white mushroom is also called table, button, champignon, or Portobello mushroom.

Also, you can see their close cousins – brown-capped mushrooms, with almost a similar nutritional makeup. In addition to them, you can seek oyster mushrooms, very wide and big ones.

They are the best choices for meat alternatives when it comes to texture.

What many folks are concerned about is agaritine found in freshly-picked mushrooms. This naturally happening compound is said to increase the risks of cancer in studies in mice merely by impacting the structure of DNA.

But there are also some studies showing that mice fed with water spiked agaritine for their entire lives were fine. That’s slightly confusing, but generally, the level of agaritine can significantly go down when it is subjected to storage or cooking.

That’s why many advise eating cooked mushrooms rather than eating them raw.

What Mushrooms Can You Eat Raw?

Theoretically, you can consume almost all edible mushrooms raw. Although, tough ones like oyster and bole-type are better served cooked because of the softer texture after processing.

Meanwhile, white button species and their brown cousins are okay to eat raw. However, the Agaricus genus contains a high level of agaritine, so you had better skip this type if you are worried about this naturally occurring toxin.

Reishi mushroom is also too tough to eat raw. Thus, you need to process these for better taste.

In a nutshell, merely all edible mushrooms can be eaten raw. Yet, we recommend you carefully think about the texture difference as it is a notable change from processed ones.

Are They Healthier Raw Or Cooked?

Evidently, mushrooms are healthier to eat when cooked. The reason is that their cell walls that keep almost all nutrient content locked in can be broken down with the heat from cooking; consequently, your body will absorb them easier.

That said, you can receive a specific amount of nutrients from fresh mushrooms, yet surely not as much as when cooked.

Can They Be Eaten Raw In Salads?

If you make salads, you probably want to keep mushrooms raw as they will go better that way. Depending on the level of agaritine found in different types of mushrooms, you can eat them raw with your favorite salads.

As we mentioned above, you can choose to eat white common button mushrooms and their brown cousins.

Meanwhile, it is best to avoid eating tough ones like oyster, bole-type, or Reishi or those with a high level of agaritine like the genus Agaricus uncooked.

Are Raw White Mushrooms Good For You?

According to a study, white mushrooms are a part of the Fungi kingdom and make around 90% of the total mushrooms eaten in the USA. They are harvested at various stages of maturity.

When immature and young, they are called white mushrooms as they come with a white hue or crimini mushrooms if they come with a brown shade. When they are fully grown, they are portobello mushrooms, which are darker and bigger.

Like many others, this type of mushroom contains a low level of calories yet is rich in nutrients. Regarding this type, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) claims that 100 g of raw white mushroom contains:

  • 92.45 g of water
  • 1 g of dietary fiber
  • 3.09 g of protein
  • 0.34 g of fat
  • 3.26 g of carbs

And because of their exposure to sunlight, fresh mushrooms are also a source of vitamin D2 and can increase this vitamin’s blood levels like a supplement.

Also, they are rich in protein and vitamin B12, which are essential nutrients for the body. Besides, as white mushrooms do not contain much agaritine, it is good for you to eat them in their raw form.

Will Cooking Mushrooms Kill Bacteria?

If you want to be 100% certain, it is best to process mushrooms. All spores or bacteria found on them are likely to die if kept at a high temperature for a few minutes. That being said, it all depends on you to decide whether you prefer to eat mushrooms raw or not.

Just remember that there is a big difference in flavor and texture. It varies among persons and is possibly either a bad thing or a good thing.

Final Thoughts

Yes, you can consume mushrooms raw.

Still, it is best to cook them to ensure your body can receive the optimal nutritional benefits. Moreover, you won’t have to worry about bacteria or spores present in raw materials.

More importantly, for agaritine compounds, you had better consider how regularly you consume them, how much you eat, and the type you eat. If your regular intake is quite low, you are fine with eating them raw.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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