Mushrooms

 

If you were asked to name the largest living thing in the world, you might well say the blue whale. After all, it’s about 30 metres long. Or you may have heard of the Argentinosaurus, a dinosaur said to have been over 21 metres tall, 36 metres long and weighing 100 tons. But that was long, long ago. The largest creature in the world is far larger and is in fact a fungus. It is at least 2400 years old, covers an area of about 2,200 acres, weighs about 600 tons and lives in the Malheur National Forest in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon, USA. 

Mushrooms have been known to mankind since time immemorial, fascinating life forms which seem to appear overnight and disappear just as mysteriously. Their variety of colour and shape is equally as unpredictable as when and where they will appear. What are these strange beings, rooted to the spot like plants but independent of the rays of the sun? What are these beings, which nourish themselves from organic substances the same as humans and animals but are not in the least bit similar? How can the tasty chanterelle flourish in exactly the same place as the deadly death cap?
We all know that when it comes to picking mushrooms, knowing what you’re doing is a matter of life and death - there are many poisonous varieties. However, mushrooms are amazing. You can use them in so many dishes, from a modest but very tasty mushroom soup, to mushroom bread, mushroom salad, mushroom vol-au-vent, dainty aperitif mushroom snacks and even mushroom desserts and mushroom jam. And believe it or not, mushroom pralines!


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