Organic shiitake (mushroom powder)
The shiitake is a real delicacy among mushrooms. With its numerous nutritionally valuable ingredients, it makes an excellent contribution to a wholesome nutrition. But that’s not all: In its East Asian native land, the shiitake is considered a medicinal mushroom and an ancient remedy. Its name is made up of the syllables “Shii” for Pasania tree and “take” for mushroom. The Pasania tree is a deciduous tree that the mushroom prefers as a host and which therefore gave it its name. Because of its distinctive smell, Shiitake is also called “fragrant mushroom” (Shiang Gu) in China. We at BERTRAND appreciate the shiitake because of its valuable ingredients and its excellent aroma as an ingredient for our drinkable meals.
The origin of the shiitake mushroom
The native land of the Shiitake (botanical: Lentinula edodes) is East Asia. It has been known in China for centuries; it is first mentioned in Japanese sources around 200 AD. It was so valuable in Japan, that it was offered as a gift to the emperor. In addition to the Pasania tree, it also loves hight-density trees such as oak, chestnut, maple or beech for growing. It arrived in Europe and Germany only about 30 years ago. Here it does not come onto the market in its wild form, but exclusively as a cultivated mushroom. In accordance with our principles, we source our Bio-Shiitake mushrooms from certified organic producers who are regularly checked for compliance with all EU organic guidelines. We use Bio-Shiitake powder.
How is the shiitake powder produced?
The Shiitake – also written: Shii-Take – originally grows wild in forests on dead trees. It is therefore called a “saprobiont”. These are organisms that grow in decomposing, dead organic matter. Today the Shiitake is the most important cultivated mushroom in Asia. And in Germany, too, there are now around 50 companies that grow the popular edible mushroom. In this country alone, around 800 tons are sold annually.
WE VACCINATE WITH SPORES
The Shiitake is grown in special greenhouses at a temperature of around 22 to 24°C and a high humidity of around 80 percent. The growers use natural wood substrate (e.g. Sawdust, rice bran) or artificial substrate that is pressed into blocks. This is where the fungal spores are “inoculated”. It takes at least six months to mature. The substrate blocks are then cooled to around 17 ° C and the mushrooms sprout around the blocks within a few days.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
The Bio-Shiitake used for the BERTRAND drinkable meals are exposed to UVB light as they grow. The reason: Many mushrooms are carriers of vitamin D2, a vitamin from the group of calciferols. The content of the vitamin is increased by UVB irradiation. In addition to shiitake, the process is also often used with champignons in order to achieve the same effect. This exposure to UVB light should not be confused with exposure to ionizing irradiation to preserve and prevent mold. Such irradiation is often used with dried mushrooms, spices and herbs. Mushrooms treated in this way are not permitted in Germany and are not marketable.
RIPE MUSHROOMS WITH A LOT OF VITAMIN-D
Ripe shiitake have a short stem and a round, light to dark or reddish-brown hat with bright scales. The hat has a diameter between 5 and 12 centimeters. The mushrooms now give off their typical, pleasant scent, which is somewhat reminiscent of garlic and leek. The shiitake can be harvested when the mushroom hats bend slightly upwards and the lamellae are close together. The meat is now firm and juicy. For harvesting, the fully ripe fruiting body is cut off by hand close to the substrate, often several times a day. The harvest takes some time because not all mushrooms ripen at the same time. Mushroom farms can be grown all year round, so fresh mushrooms are available all year round.p>
WE WANT A NUTRITIOUS POWDER
DRYING AND GRINDING
The shiitake can be dried very well without losing its aroma. While the hard stems of fresh mushrooms are first removed, these can be used to produce powder. A gentle hot drying process is very suitable as a drying method. Then the dry mushrooms are ground, whereby the chitin cell walls are broken up and the valuable ingredients are released. The dehydration and the subsequent grinding into the finest powder even increases the nutrient content and increases bioavailability.
Shiitake mushrooms have a very “mushroomy”, intense and spicy aroma with a fine hint of garlic. It is called “umami”, which is the fifth flavor in addition to sweet, sour, salty and bitter. One also speaks of “natural glutamate”, which is contained in mushrooms. The shiitake also contributes a lot to the good taste in our BERTRAND drinkable meals. Above all, however, we use the mushroom to fortify our products with vitamin D.
Especially in the winter months, vitamin D is considered to be a deficient vitamin in this country, as the sunlight on the skin which is required for self-synthesis is missing. The “mushroomy” vitamin D in Shiitake can be significantly increased by radiating its cell membrane with UVB light and its bioavailability can be optimized. The process is similar to the formation of vitamin D in human skin. This can improve the supply of vitamin D. This is particularly valuable in the vegetarians and vegans group, as they lack animal sources of vitamin D (especially fatty fish). The increased vitamin D content due to the irradiation helps us at BERTRAND to reach the daily recommended intake according to NRV (Nutrient Reference Values). This is 5 µg of vitamin D for adults up to 65 years, and even 10 µg from 65 years. BERTRAND drinkable meals are characterized by the fact that all essential nutrients are contained in one daily ration. This is true for all variants of our drinkable meals. Shiitake not only contribute vitamin D, but also other nutrients.
- Picture of mushroom growing at top of page: jajam_e via Shutterstock
- Map of China: JUN KAWAGUCHI via Shutterstock
- Post image, shiitake on white background: Valentyn Volkov via Shutterstock