Getting to know: Pioppino mushrooms

Also known as the Black Poplar mushroom, Pioppini grow in tight clusters. Once they start fruiting, they should be ready to harvest within four to six days.

Pioppino mushrooms contain a compound called ceramide, which might have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer potential, according to some research in the United States. The researchers isolated the ceramide from the mushroom and tested it against COX-2 enzymes that contribute to inflammation.

They found the compound noticeably hindered COX-2 and partially challenged stomach, breast, and central nervous system diseases. The researchers suggest eating Pioppino mushrooms regularly could offer these health benefits or complement other anti-inflammatory treatments.

Heading overseas to Serbia, researchers were curious about adding Pioppino mushroom powder to cream cheese. They mixed three grams of dried powder per 100 grams of cream cheese and let the mixture stand for a day.

The majority of the 75 taste testers liked the new mixture more than the plain cream cheese. The researchers also found the Pioppino mushrooms added antioxidants while being low in calories.

Fun fact: Ermolao Barbaro, an Italian scholar of natural sciences during the 1400s, said the Pioppino mushrooms can grow on trunks of poplar trees by spraying them with water and yeast, according to the Institute for Environmental Protection and Research in Italy. It makes more sense now that poplar in Italian is “pioppo”.

Barbaro also wrote about Pedanius Dioscorides, an ancient Greek physician, pharmacist, and botanist. Barbaro’s commentary says the Greeks thought fungi were a food of the gods because the mushrooms grew without needing seeds.

Meal options: Stir-fry the Pioppino mushrooms. With their pork-like flavour, they work in vegetarian and meaty soups, pasta, salad, and rice dishes. They can also be finely chopped and baked in stuffing or cooked in a white sauce to pour on meat or fish.

Disclaimer: Despite the references provided, the information on this page, specifically the Pioppino’s potential health benefits, are for educational purposes only. Contact your health provider for personal medical advice.