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Harvest of the Month

April - Whole Grains & Mushrooms

Whole Grains & Mushrooms
Whole Grains:
A grain is the edible seed inside a cereal crop.  These grains are comprised of four parts: the husk, the bran, the endosperm and the germ. The husk is inedible and has to be removed before it can be consumed. The bran is a thick inner covering that is made up of several layers. The germ is the part of the grain that produces the sprout for a new plant to grow, and the endosperm is the soft inner part of the grain that provides nourishment for the seed after it is germinated. A whole grain is one with all these components except the husk, if the grain no longer has the bran or germ there will be a loss of nutrients. Whole grains are known to be one of the earliest crops cultivated by humans. Grains have been consumed by humans and animals across the world as far back as 9000 B.C.E due to their high fiber and natural compounds that provide many health benefits. Humans use whole grains for bread, cereal, chips, pasta and stew. 

Mushrooms have a captivating history that spans millennia, and in New England, this history is richly intertwined with the region's diverse ecosystems. New Hampshire is home to a variety of mushroom species that have fascinated both ancient cultures and modern scientists.

One notable native mushroom species in New Hampshire is the Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius), prized for its delicate flavor and golden appearance. These mushrooms can be found in wooded areas, particularly in the late summer and fall months. Another common species is the Lobster Mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum), which grows as a parasite on other mushrooms, giving them a vibrant orange-red color and a unique taste reminiscent of seafood. New Hampshire forests also host the iconic Morel mushroom (Morchella species), which emerges in the spring and is highly sought after by foragers for its distinctive honeycomb-like appearance and nutty flavor. Additionally, the Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa), also known as Maitake, is a prized edible and medicinal mushroom found growing at the base of trees, particularly oak trees, in the region.

Fun Facts
  • Popcorn is a whole grain but there is only one variety of corn that can “pop”, this variety is called Zea mays everta.
  • Quinoa [keen-waa], is a whole grain that goes back to the ancient Incan civilizations and was so important they called it the “gold of the incas”.
  • Rice does not need to be planted in water but because it has a high tolerance to moisture it is planted in water to control weed and pests.

  • Whole grains fiber, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals like B & E vitamins, magnesium and iron in higher levels than refined grain.
  • Whole grains also reduce risks of heart disease, stroke, cancers, diabetes, and obesity if consumed in proper portions.
  • Mushrooms are a rich, low-calorie source of fiber, protein, and antioxidants.
  • Including mushrooms in your regular diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses, support a healthy immune system, and aid in digestion.

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