Learn if you can make mushroom soup for babies and about the beneficial properties of mushrooms by reading this article.
There are over 10,000 known types of mushrooms worldwide, of which, around 2000 varieties are edible. There is notable variation in appearance, taste, aroma, and nutrients. Agaricus bisporus is one of the most widely consumed mushroom species in the world. The immature white variant is the common mushroom, infamous as white button mushroom, or the table mushroom. The immature brown variant is the Roman brown, Swiss brown, cremini, or baby Bella mushroom.
The mature version is the large (4-6 inches wide) Portabella mushroom. Though we consider them as culinary vegetables, the mushroom is the fleshy fruit, with a characteristic stem, cap, and gills on the underside. But no matter the variant, can you make mushroom soup for babies? Let’s know more about mushrooms and their benefits below.
Nutrition and Health Benefits
Given their distinctive biological attributes, mushrooms contain nutrients that are commonly available in plants and animals. However, some attributes are unique to the fungi only. It’s one of the only non-animal sources of Vitamin D (which is often deficient in children), making it an invaluable addition to a vegetarian diet. 100g of white mushrooms provide 22kcal of energy. It’s low in calories, sodium, cholesterol/fat-free, and relatively cheap.
Mushrooms are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, notably Vitamin B and C. Besides, it contains:
- Copper that facilitates red blood cell production
- Potassium that is crucial for heart
- Muscle and nerve function
- Iron for hemoglobin
- Zinc that boosts immunity and metabolism
- Selenium that improves cognition
These nutrients in a balanced diet allow children to thrive. There are several non-nutritive plant substances – polysaccharides, indoles, polyphenols, and carotenoids in mushrooms that amplify their properties like:
- Hepato-protective (detoxification of liver) properties
From a flavor perspective, mushrooms offer a burst of umami (fifth basic taste), lending a rich, savory, and meaty bite to your meals and improving satiety.
When Can Babies Start Eating Mushrooms
There are no official recommendations from any medical organization or government agency regarding when can babies start eating mushrooms. There is no evidence to suggest delaying the introduction of mushrooms into an infant’s diet once they’ve started eating solids. However, there is an alternate school of thought that advocates waiting till your infant is at least ten months old. It is best to proceed after consulting a pediatrician.
Irrespective of the start date, there is consensus about cooking the mushrooms first thoroughly. Cooking mushrooms causes a molecular breakdown that increases the release of nutrients and makes it easier to digest and absorb; it also reduces the risk of bacterial contamination and destroys toxic compounds (e.g., agaritine, a potential carcinogen found in raw white mushrooms).
How To Buy Mushrooms
- Look for freshness in the mushroom. Check if they are plump, firm to touch with a light, even color, and the surface is dry without cracks. Stale mushrooms are darker, withered, and slimy with a musty smell. Avoid if the gills on the underside of the mushroom have are black.
- Rinse them in water or wipe with a damp cloth to remove dirt/debris, then dry thoroughly. Cut off any visibly damaged portions.
- Refrigerate up to a week in a paper bag or a tray covered with a paper towel. If you store them in airtight containers, it can result in the overgrowth of harmful bacteria that cause botulism (poisoning by toxins).
Mushroom Soup for Babies
Chopped Mushroom – 1 Cup
Butter/Ghee/Oil – 2 tsp
Finely Chopped Onion – 2 tbsp
Finely Chopped Garlic – 3 nos
Wheat Flour – 1 tbsp
Salt (as required)
Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
Fresh Cream/ Grated Cheese – 2 tbsp
Milk – 1 Cup
Make sure to wash the mushrooms under running water to clear out any toxins or dirt and debris. Cut off the stems and remove the outer layer. Saute butter, onions and garlic in a thick bottomed pan for 2 minutes. Now, add chopped mushroom with wheat flour into the pan. Keep sauteing the vegetables until the wheat flour becomes dry.
Add milk along with black pepper and salt to it and stir continously. Keep stirring it on medium heat until the soup becomes slightly thick. You can add grated cheese or cream to better the consistency of the soup and boil for two minutes. Take the soup off the flame and let it cool down slightly before feeding it to your kid spoon by spoon.
You can cook and chop mushrooms into mashed vegetables or add them to omelets and serve them as finger food. You can cook a single large mushroom (Portobello) till it’s soft. For toddlers, you can cook mushrooms into pasta, casseroles, grain, and lentil dishes or soup.
The chewy texture and cylindrical stem can be challenging for infants, so ensure that you cook the cap and stem well and finely chop it/slice it to avoid choking. Keep in mind to not leave your child unattended at mealtime.
Mushroom allergy is extremely rare, but when it occurs, it is characterized by:
- Intestinal swelling
- Sinus congestion
- Skin rashes
- Shortness of breath
- Common digestive symptoms like nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea
If you spot any of these symptoms in your child or yourself, seek medical attention immediately. Spores released by growing mushrooms can trigger an allergic reaction when you inhale them. It especially affects people with respiratory issues or sensitivities to airborne allergens. Watch out for mushroom clusters growing in your garden/neighborhood.