|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!