Mushrooms ... good to die for

Mushrooms are a food that we all know, rich in water, iron, phosphorus and zinc, and poor  in lipids and carbohydrates. But do we know them well?

REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Perhaps many of you do not know that fungi are a critical resource for our environment, because they play a very important role to our ecosystem and they're  are able to decompose the organic material present in the soil to make it available as nutrients for plants. And everyone know how plants are important to our survival.

The largest distinction that we can do about mushrooms, talking about cooking, is classify them in edible and inedible. In the the edible group we can find porcini,  chanterelles, Oyster Fungus, Morels and many others. But I would like to dwell for a moment on the other category, namely inedible ones which category itself could be tourned into 2 more categories: toxic and poisonus mushrooms.

Toxic mushrooms are those who, even after cooking, can cause physical damage to varying degrees, depending on the general state of health of the person that ingests them. In general however, after hospitalization, the person returns to an almost normal healthy. Toxic mushrooms mustn'tbe underestimated because they could be potentially fatal too, sometimes.

Poisonus mushrooms instead, leading to certain death in most cases. In fact very few times, if taken in time and with proper care, people can survive to the poison they contains.

The only sure way to distinguish edible mushrooms from inedible ones, if you go hunting for them in the woods, is to be sure to be together with an expert person that knows them very well to avoid tragedies, or buy them from a farmer or simply in shops and supermarkets. In this way you can be sure to buy a safe product without any contamination. Yes, because if a poisonous mushroom touch another poisonus mushroom  you'd be in danger because of the high volatility of the spores that sometimes the fungus contains in it. So better throw them all away, if you are no longer certain of what you are eating. Poisonous mushrooms in fact can be very subtle. Some of the most dangerous species in the world, in fact, look absolutely normal and very similar to that of some of their "relatives", from the same species and absolutely harmless. For example, Amanita phalloides mushroom: this is also called "Angel of death" for his innocuous appearance, very similar as another mushroom of its species, Amanita caesarea, one hundred percent edible. Do not think that after cooking poisonus mushrooms will become edible, magically, because so is not in fact the venomous species maintain their property even after cooking, drying or freezing.

Let's talk about "famous" species; Mattake mushroom is the most expensive mushroom in the entire world and can perhaps even cost around 750 euros per kg. It is a species of mushroom that belongs to the family of Porcini mushrooms and is often used not only in the culinary field but also in the medical field, especially in Japan and China. This fungus can be found only in particular areas of the Earth: Japan, United States, China, Finland, Sweden, Korea and Canada. Other particular fungus and quite famous is the Mycena Chlorophos, phosphorescent fungus. With bright and phosphorescent spores they  can illuminate all the beautiful woods around the forests in Wakayama Ugui, Japan, and in the Ribeira Valley Tourist State Park, in  Brazil.


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