Don't worry. We tried it first. Taste Test: Mushroom Jerky

by Ryan Freebing

In August, Men’s Health posted an article about jerky that was made of mushrooms which, of course, caught my attention. Because I am a fan of trying new things and this is The Ingredients Issue, I recently bought a couple of bags to give this new packaged goods superfood a try.

Today there are a never ending amount of packaged products in the grocery store isles that are all marketed to people who don’t have the time to look closely at the nutrition facts. We are creatures of convenience and that’s why I’m here to give you the scoop on this new shroom snack.

Because I didn’t know if they were currently being sold in stores yet, I purchased three bags of mushroom jerky from a company called Shrooms on Amazon. I chose Sea Salt, Pizza and Mesquite Barbeque as my flavors and anxiously awaited them to arrive.

Now if you eat meat, you are probably also a fan of or have tried traditional jerky. Jerky is a common American snack of finely trimmed meat that has been cut into strips and dried for consumption. It’s usually marinated, seasoned, comes in a variety of different flavors and can be a frequent road trip companion for some.

But what if you’re not into the whole jerky concept. Enter mushroom jerky, an option that lets vegetarians get in on the chewy packaged snack game.

Reading up on the product before I got them in my hands, Shrooms advertises their mushroom jerky as an “authentic, crispy mushroom snack with mind-blowing flavor. Made from fresh, real, thick-cut North American-grown mushrooms packed with nature’s goodness. A great healthy veggie snack for hiking, post-workout, traveling, or every day.” Sounds like a good start to me.

Soon after they arrived, I quickly opened a bag and took in the mesquite barbeque flavor. The texture was soft, not crunchy or crispy as advertised, and almost melted in your mouth as I chewed and tried to get it down. It tasted earthy and had a slight hint of BBQ flavor, but not much. Honestly, it just tasted like a dried mushroom. Clever. The other two flavors didn’t offer much flavor either. Feeling unhappy with my choices, I tried about half of a cup and went on with my day, hoping to come back later and give them a second chance.

There was no need though. About 30-minutes to an hour after eating this newly discovered treat, I started to feel really sick. So much so that I had to lie down. My stomach felt like it was being stapled together. Let me preface this situation by just saying, the last time I felt this sick was when I ate three bags of real beef jerky on Christmas morning when I was 11. This was not routine after eating strange snacks and I do not normally have a sensitive stomach.

I’ll spare you the rest of the specific details of what happened next, but it only got worse from there. So much so, that I got worried I had actually eaten the wrong kind of mushroom. No, the bags were not expired and no, I had not eaten much prior, but it remains to be clear, my body did not agree with this new morsel.

All in all, I am giving this product a straight up F.  If someone else has a positive experience and would like to share, please feel free to let me know. I am all ears!