What’s so special about mushrooms?
Mushrooms are really having their moment in the spotlight right now. Not quite a plant or animal, mushrooms are classed as fungi, and the edible species – of which there are more than 2,000 – are packed with health benefits.
Coming in many shapes and sizes, mushrooms are low in calories, high in fibre and vitamins, and are one of the very few food sources of vitamin D (which we're prone to be deficient in over the winter months). They’ve also been linked with helping to prevent many chronic diseases.
In one study, researchers found mushrooms can help to lower the risk of death from all causes, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Used in medicine throughout history, fungi is still used to this day. In 1929 Alexander Fleming isolated a substance from fungus and discovered penicillin – the first of many antibiotics derived from fungi.
Why are we talking about them now?
Mushrooms are endlessly fascinating – and we’re finally catching on to that, after centuries of neglecting them. There are billions of species of mushroom on earth, hiding away, many of which are deadly. Some fungi are actually invisible to the naked eye – and they can grow just about anywhere.
In a book published earlier this year, ‘In Search of Mycotopia’, journalist Doug Bierend sheds light on some of fungi’s secrets. But something tells us we've only just scratched the surface of this mysterious fungi.
As well as a growing interest among scientists, people are learning how to cultivate mushrooms at home. Mushroom-growing kits seem to be are on the rise, and only require growers to add a bit of moisture and put them in a dark spot. Mushrooms are really easy to grow - they don't even need any sunlight.
Mushrooms in our diets
Mushrooms' umami flavour and meaty texture makes them a popular plant-based alternative in many dishes. But they’re not only good for smothering in butter and garlic.
More and more food start-ups are using the incredibly versatile mycroprotein. The plant-based superhero mycroprotein, a high-fibre, low-fat meat alternative, is made by fermenting the fungus fusarium venenatum, which grows underground. It’s also been linked to many health benefits, including lower cholesterol.
At TYME, we use mushrooms to add a delicious to boost your lunch.We’ve chosen to season ours with tangy tamari, since mushrooms are so great for soaking in flavours.
Watch with us: ‘Fantastic Fungi’ on Netflix which looks at how mushrooms can – essentially – save the world by helping to clean up oil spills, and treat health issues.