The portobello mushroom, called cappellone or “big hat” in Northern Italy, is a low-calorie, virtually fat-free food. Surprisingly, one of these XL mushrooms has more potassium than a banana. 

Given their size and texture, portobellos are perfect for broiling, especially if marinated. Yesterday’s recipe for Broiled Italian-Style Portobello Mushrooms, for example, features a marinade that calls for garlic, thyme, oregano and sage. The thyme and sage, with their warm, pungent scents, impart a woodsy flavor. 

Garlic adds a hint of heat and numerous health-protective benefits. Used extensively in Eastern medicine, it has sulfur-containing substances with antibacterial properties. Research shows it’s also likely protective against colorectal cancer, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. 

When shopping at your local natural and organic food store, choose portobellos that are firm and solid, not broken or bruised. Avoid limp or dried-looking mushrooms. Also stay away from shriveled or slippery ones, as these are signs of decomposition. 

Cooked portobellos can be frozen and will keep for several months, but uncooked mushrooms don’t freeze well. Raw mushrooms are best consumed within five days of purchase.