Agrocybe Aegerita (Chestnut Mushroom)
Agrocybe Aegerita is a species of mushroom that belongs to the white rot fungi but looks like the button mushroom, only darker. It has gills whose colour ranges from pink to dark brown. Hence the mushroom is sometimes referred to as ‘brown cap mushroom’. It behaves almost the same as some other species of mushroom like the Tricholomamatsutake,, Agrocybe Aegerita and Agrocybeparasitica.
This genus of mushroom has about 100 species spread all over the world. Cultivation of the chestnut began with the Greeks and the Romans and before that they collected truffles. In their traditional beliefs, mushroom emerged when lightning struck. Today, however, the chestnut is farmed and marketed in Korea, Japan, China and Australia. The Chestnut is medium sized and has an open and convex shaped cap. Underneath the cap are numerous radial plates that are white in colour. They later turn brownish grey. Sometimes it looks flat with a diameter of 3-10 cm. It is also referred to as the Poplar mushroom, possibly because it grows in holes on the poplar tree. However, it also grows in clusters on logs an on other trees with large leaves.
The Chestnut as a Dish
The Chestnut has a strong taste and fits well in different dishes. It goes in sauces, salads, pasta, quiches, soups, casseroles, omelettes, among others.
Fresh foods lose their flavour and nutritional value if not kept properly. This preservation of nutrients is paramount especially because many of the elements in the mushroom have medicinal value. When taken in food, the medicinal elements ensure various ailments are kept at arm’s length and the consumer leads a relatively healthy life.
How to store the Chestnut
To ensure the Chestnut mushroom retains its flavour, its nutritional value and edibility, it needs to be well washed, towel dried, kept in a fridge. The ideal length of storage is 3 days. The mushroom should not be wrapped in a plastic bag. If that happens, it will begin to sweat and start going bad in no time.
Keep in a paper bag in the fridge for up to 3 days. Do not store them in a plastic bag because they will sweat and quickly spoil.
What are the nutrients in the Agrocybe Aegerita mushroom?
This mushroom contains vitamins, phytochemicals and minerals. It is particularly rich in Copper and Pantothenic acid which is Vitamin B5. The Chestnut also contains Folate, Biotin, Niacin or Vitamin B3, Selenium, Potassium and Riboflavin or Vitamin B2.
To help a person assess the calorie and fat intake in order to regulate weight amid other reasons, here is a general breakdown of the Chestnut content:
Nutritional and Calorie Values for 100 grams of Chestnut Mushroom
Therapeutic impact of the Chestnut
Traditionally, the Chinese used the Agrocybe Aegerita for the wellbeing of the stomach. It also ensured that the spleen was well nourished. The Chinese also used the mushroom to keep the kidneys working properly.
This mushroom is also recognised in present day science as having anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibiotic and anti-tumour properties. It is said to contain compounds with prohibitive properties against the cyclooxygenaseenzyme, which medications such as target of Adril, Tylenol, and others try to fight too.
The Chest Mushroom is valuable in the provision of bioactive secondary metabolites. These metabolites include Cylindan which has anti-cancer properties, agrocybenine with antifungal properties, and indole derivatives which are able to hunt down free radicals. These antioxidants also suppress the absorption of cholesterol. By inhibiting the production of the enzymes Aromatase and 5 alpha reductase, these antioxidants prevent prostate and breast cancer.
The anti-cancer properties of the Chestnut are detailed in the 2009 book Biotechnology in China I: From Bioreaction to Bioseparation and Bioremediation, a joint venture of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Dalian University of Technology.
Also according to BobekP, Galbavy S (2001), “Effect of pleuran (beta-glucan from Pleurotusostreatus) on the antioxidant status of the organism and on dimethylhydrazine – induced precancerous lesions in rat colon”, Agrocybe Aegeritais able to fight against cancer through its natural properties.
The Chestnut Mushroom is also hailed as being able to slow down the effects of osteoporosis, some of which are weakening of the vertebrae. Its antiseptic properties also help keep the body free of infection.